Thursday 30 April 2020
It’s been six weeks since Australia’s lockdown restrictions came into place, and it’s slowly starting to feel like the new normal. Life now revolves around the home, as people across the globe play, create and work within their walls. While we are cautiously optimistic that the situation in Australia is coming under control, we know that every part of the world is facing its own challenges and our thoughts remain with our friends, audiences and colleagues whose communities are struggling.
Maintaining positive mental health in these times is vital, and amongst the uncertainty we find hope in the pockets of colourful creativity that are blossoming. Arts and cultural organisations around the world are sharing new and innovative ways to engage with their work. We’ve collected family fun from some of our Australian friends – check it out here. We’ve also included our very own Polyglot at home. Our ingenious artists have dreamt up wonderful activities that use things you’ve probably got around the house, plus we’re sharing films created through our Kids Collaboration projects 5678 Film Club and First On The Ladder. Our Artistic Director Sue Giles AM spoke to VicHealth with advice for parents about facilitating and supporting kids’ creativity in the home – read this here.
We emailed you a few weeks ago with the disappointing news that, alongside 48 other organisations, Polyglot was unsuccessful in securing Four Year Funding from the Australia Council for the Arts for 2021-2024. We’ve been inundated with support since then – thank you so much if you are one of the many who’ve take the time to get in touch with us. It’s not too late if you’d still like to take action – you can click here to find the contact details for your local MP if you’d like to send an email explaining what Polyglot means to you and your views on the funding outcome.
Sue was among several industry leaders to speak to The Age last week about the ‘steady demise’ of the Theatre for Young Audiences sector in Australia, and how this will affect our performing arts industry. You can read this here.
Most importantly, we’d like to reassure you that Polyglot is not going away! We remain a strong, vibrant company that creates innovative and conceptually rich theatre for children all over the world. The funding outcome doesn’t diminish this. It makes the next four years more challenging, but we are already exploring new ways to secure the investment that we need for Polyglot to thrive. We look forward to your support as we continue creating and sharing transformative fun with children and their families well into the future.
Finally, we’d like to share an important sector fundraising campaign with you: 1000 x 1000: Crisis Cash for Artists. Polyglot stands in solidarity with all independent performing arts workers whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Many do not have access to a financial safety net and are not eligible for government assistance. Polyglot is proud to champion the 1000 x 1000: Crisis Cash for Artists fundraising campaign led by Theatre Network Australia and Creative Partnerships Australia. If you are in a position to assist, please consider making a tax-deductible donation. All donations big and small make a difference, and your support is greatly appreciated.
Photographer: Alvin Ho, courtesy of the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
Polyglot at home
One way that Polyglot’s community can stay connected, motivated and positive is online. We challenged our ingenious artists to come up with some fun things to do with stuff that’s probably already in your house. Don’t have kids? Don’t worry! These creative activities are for all ages (some kids may need a hand with things like scissors).
Our Australian friends are sharing new ways to engage with their work – here are some of our top picks!
Arts Centre Melbourne
“We acknowledge what a challenging time it is for children and families right now. To help you stay connected, entertained and inspired in isolation, we have created a world of fun and interactive experiences to enjoy. Come together with your family to watch a stage show, listen to music, explore stories or dive into a creative activity at home.”
Barking Gecko Theatre
“Barking Gecko Theatre in collaboration with ThinkArts in India has created a new digital initiative Isolate > Create > Connect to highlight the similarities and differences that children are experiencing right now across the globe. This will become a lasting record of how life in isolation during COVID-19 was experienced by young people. Through a weekly video delivered by teaching artists from BGT and ThinkArts online, children aged 5 to 17 are set a creative task inviting them to create a small artwork capturing their perspective on the world right now. Once their creation is complete and uploaded, a digital scrapbook of children’s creative responses will be created to reflect this unprecedented time in history.”
“If you’re feeling like a cooped up critter or a nervous numbat, we can relate. Whilst Melbourne Museum’s doors might be closed, there’s still a whole lot of magic going on. We’ve curated our best online content for you to enjoy from the couch!”
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
“Calling all little (and big) kids! You are invited to join the MSO for Jams for Juniors online – a sweet virtual musical ride through the music of Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Dvořák and Bizet. Learn how to make your own instruments and get ready to jam along with presenter Karen Kyriakou and musicians from the MSO in these 20-minute online music sessions.”
Windmill at Home
“Welcome to Windmill at Home. A new online platform that hopes to bring a little bit of Windmill joy into your home. We believe that good stories bring people together and can make even the darkest days brighter. We’ve worked closely with our wonderful team of artists and creatives to share some of your favourite stories in a whole new way. Discover a whole suite of stories with Grug, a collection of hands-on activities and explore our interactive (and award-winning) digital experiences.”
“With entertainment for kids and support with school, Yarra Libraries has you covered!”
Photographer: Jason Lau, courtesy of the Arts Centre Melbourne
“There’s now only three theatres for young audience companies and four youth arts companies federally funded,” she said. “In 2007, there were 21 federally-funded youth arts companies. So the decrease over the last decade has been massive.
“When you think of Denmark, which has 5 million people, they have 200 professional theatre companies for children. That’s a culture that really values its young people.”
The Age spoke to Sue Giles AM and other arts leaders about the ‘steady demise’ of theatre for young audiences in Australia, and how this will affect our performing arts industry. Read the article here.
“The fallout of COVID19 is hitting everyone hard, but artists are exceptionally vulnerable. As of 2 April 2020, $325M of income had been lost by independents in the Australian creative industries as a direct result of the measures put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” Penelope Bartlau, Barking Spider Visual Theatre
Polyglot stands in solidarity with all independent performing arts workers whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Many do not have access to a financial safety net and are not eligible for government assistance. Polyglot is proud to champion the 1000 x 1000: Crisis Cash for Artists fundraising campaign led by Theatre Network Australia and Creative Partnerships Australia. If you are in a position to assist, please join us in making a tax-deductible donation. All donations big and small make a difference, and your support is greatly appreciated.