What a year 2018 has been! Polyglot turned 40, and we celebrated our big birthday by moving to a brand new home! This was only made possible through the generous donations we received for our biggest ever fundraising target – $50,000. A big thank you again to everyone who helped us get there.
2018 also saw us travel to nine different countries, delighting people near and far with our Play Space works, workshops and professional development opportunities. We explored new territory with Hear Me Roar and Light Pickers creative developments, our artists immersed themselves in Generator intensives, and Cat City sprang to life at Melbourne Zoo – a first-of-its-kind Polyglot show promoting the Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife campaign. Our Artistic Director Sue Giles launched a Platform Paper, and films from 5678 Film Club were screened around Australia (including at ACMI!). Read the recap of our touring highlights here.
We also have a wonderful new place to collect our memories from around the world! For our 40th Birthday, we launched Polyglot’s Story Map – a dynamic, collaborative digital archive that everyone can add to. We have stories from Polyglot artists, audience members, staff and Board members pinned to a world map. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself on a lazy holiday afternoon – explore the stories, and then add your own! Find it here.
Our Story Map also featured at our celebratory cinema screening at ACMI in November. Polyglot friends gathered to see the short films created in 2018 through our Kids’ Collaborations projects – 5678 Film Club and First On The Ladder. MC Sarah Ward kept everyone giggling, and guests enjoyed meeting the talented filmmakers (and getting autographs!) over refreshments after the screening. The Story Map was housed in a custom cardboard case created by Polyglot artist Mischa Long, and guests were able to explore and add their own stories.
2018 marked the second year for First On The Ladder, our art-meets-sport collaboration with Beyond Empathy, in partnership with Rumbalara Football Netball Club in Shepparton, Victoria and the Moree Boomerangs in New South Wales. The season ran from March to September, and was action-packed and hugely exciting. You can read more about the project’s successes here.
We’re looking ahead to the summer holidays – who else is counting down the days? We’re thrilled that Invisible Orchestra, created by IO in association with Polyglot, is being presented at Arts Centre Melbourne from 5-13 January. This interactive event is FREE and recommended for ages 3-12 – we can’t wait to see you there! Plus check out our other school holiday activity picks – we’ve got a few of our favourites here.
A very big thank you to all of the artists, presenters and collaborators we have worked with in 2018, and to all of the kids and families who have engaged with our work. It has been a remarkable year full of old friends and new, exciting opportunities, big change and inspiring growth.
This Wednesday 19 December will be the last day our office is open for 2018. The Polyglot team is taking a summer holiday and we’ll be back in the office on Wednesday 2 January.
We hope that you have a safe and happy summer break, filled with laughter and sunshine. See you in the new year!
First On The Ladder is a three-year, art-meets-sport collaboration between Polyglot Theatre and Beyond Empathy, in partnership with Rumbalara Football Netball Club in Shepparton, Victoria and the Moree Boomerangs in New South Wales. The project centres on the young people from these two Indigenous sports clubs – celebrating their culture and achievements through a range of creative experiences including filmmaking, street art, radio broadcasting and play workshops.
The opportunity for Polyglot to work collaboratively, to co-create and exchange would not be possible without the infrastructure, generosity and vision of Rumbalara Football Netball Club and the Moree Boomerangs Rugby Club. We are privileged to have access to the strength of family and culture, to the power of sport within regional communities, to the breadth of engagement these clubs make possible. For Polyglot, these Aboriginal–led organisations have opened up new understanding and appreciation of how art can speak, work and act. They are game changers.
2018, the second year of the project, has been action-packed and hugely exciting. With the season running from March to September, the footy boots in both Shepparton and Moree have now been hung up for the year. First On The Ladder will kick off again in March 2019 for its final year.
Read more here.
Come and play with Polyglot and IO at Arts Centre Melbourne!
Invisible Orchestra is a giant game of musical chairs, where the music starts when you sit down!
Just as musicians use their hands to strum a guitar, Invisible Orchestra invites you to use your imagination – and your bum – to shimmy, squash and bop your way around the orchestra. Conducted by special guests including Matt Kelly of ‘The Listies’ and Tamara Rewse, help compose a symphonic masterpiece by sitting on the musical chairs. Join us for this surprising and superbly silly sound experiment these summer holidays.
Arts Centre Melbourne
Invisible Orchestra is supported by City of Melbourne.
Read more here.
Make a day of it! Enjoy this free interactive event before or after seeing Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus.
Some of our other favourite Melbourne hotspots for kids and families
For more summer holiday fun, visit the State Government of Victoria website for a comprehensive list.
In 2018, Polyglot travelled to nine different countries, delighting people near and far with our productions and installations, school workshops and professional development opportunities. We thought we’d share a recap of some touring highlights.
Executive Director Viv Rosman kicked off the year by attending the New York 2018 International Society for the Performing Arts Congress, and presenting Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) at the Pitch New Works session. Read her reflection here. Associate Producer Julie Wright also travelled to the United States, attending the International Performing Arts for Youth Showcase 2018 in Philadelphia.
Artistic Director Sue Giles presented a talk and workshop about creating theatre for babies at Macau City Fringe Festival. She wrote about the experience – read it here.
Sue launched her Currency House Platform Paper – Young people and the arts: an agenda for change – to a packed audience at The Coopers Malthouse. Min and Louka, aged 15 and 16, represented Polyglot’s Inspiring People Society (PIPS) – read their presentation here. Excitingly, Sue’s Platform Paper sold out and reprints had to be ordered!
Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) played to sold out audiences in its Perth premiere at Perth Festival. Simon and Rosanna Collins reviewed the experience: “Some parents shed tears of sweet relief. Well, not relief, more a sudden emotional overflow thanks to the sheer beauty, and interactive fun, of this simple yet superbly executed production.”
Polyglot was honoured to have the opportunity to return for the fourth time to Minami Sanriku in Japan, a region devastated by the 2011 tsunami. Together with Japanese company Acchi Cocchi, we presented a public performance of Paper Planet and a series of workshops in the five local Minami Sanriku schools. Artist Stefanie Robinson wrote about the experience – read this here.
First On The Ladder delivered a bespoke project for Shepparton Festival – The Rumba Scavenger hunt. 150 participants in 35 teams took on the Scavenger Hunt challenge, with children and families teaming up to find hidden artworks and activations around Shepparton. First On The Ladder Project Producer Simone Ruggiero wrote about the Hunt – read this here.
Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) enjoyed its Indonesian premiere at ARTJOG, with seven sold out shows performed at Padepokan Seni Bagong Kussudiardja (PSBK). Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) was co-created with Indonesian company Papermoon Puppet Theatre, and their Artistic Director Maria Tri Sulistyani spoke to The Jakarta Post. “For Australian audiences, it’s like the story of boat people seeking asylum in Australia. For Indonesian spectators, they feel like they’re being taken on an adventure on board a boat to a new world… There is a layer that can be easily enjoyed by children, and then there is a deep meaning that can be grasped by adults.”
Our first Hear Me Roar creative developments took place at ArtPlay. These fun and physical workshops asked adult participants to shed pre-conceived expectations and young participants to be free to explore without expectation.
We celebrated our 40th Birthday with a two-day season of Tangle at Abbotsford Convent! 13-year old reviewer Gully Thompson wrote: “The genius thing about Polyglot shows is that at first glance, they seem like such simple ideas, just going outside and wrapping yourself in elastic. But as you dig deeper, you realise that while it seems to be such a simple prospect, there is a much deeper aspect of all of their shows… Tangle is a magical, inspiring and creative show, one built on genius and imagination. I urge you to see it when you get the chance.”
Films created by 5678 Film Club were screened at Cairns Children’s Festival, and Sue Giles attended an Industry Forum in Sydney, centred around her Platform Paper.
June and July
June and July saw our Ants roaming with their crumbs in Michigan at Ann Arbor Summer Festival, and in New York at the Long Island Children’s Museum.
Cat City came to life at Melbourne Zoo. A unique, first-of-its-kind Polyglot show, Cat City was created to promote the Zoos Victoria Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife campaign. An audience member added a story to our Story Map: “The children had a ball exploring in safe space as they created a world designed for cats. The children [and many adults] were totally absorbed in the world of Cat City and when a dog [Sue] appeared the rivalry was real! It was wonderful to watch a young boy create an elaborate safe space to keep this intruder out!”
The second creative development of Light Pickers took place at ArtPlay. Artist Mischa Long reflected on the process – read this here.
Co-CEOs Sue Giles and Viv Rosman attended the 2018 ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering in Beijing, with artists Mischa Long and Stefanie Robinson, who presented a professional development workshop titled “Everywhere is a doorway: creating sensory environments for neuro-diverse children.” While in China, Polyglot also delivered workshops for school holiday programs and community organisations.
Paper Planet unfurled its paper leaves at Cranbourne Gardens. Artist Mischa Long wrote about the experience. “Polyglot is lucky to be presenting Paper Planet at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne this week, in a room overlooking the red earth and native plants of the Australian garden. As a backdrop, it’s perfect, plus for the first time, cuttings from REAL plants have been introduced to the materials the show is built around. Paper Planet smells like a real forest!”
Dan Goronszy and David Pidd travelled to Singapore in early September to present a two-week Polyglot school workshop residency at United World College South East Asia. A note from their workshop report reads, “We are totally satisfied and exhilarated that the plan we made eventuated in an amazing workshop. There are so many things we could talk about. It was magic! Moment after moment of committed work from the students, committed to the tasks we asked of them.”
Sue Giles and artist Justin Marshall travelled to Warakurna for the next creative development of our project with the Tjanpi Desert Weavers and FORM. Sue kept a travel diary: “It’s interesting working with sound only on this trip, because it changes the way you listen and I’ve been super aware of the sounds in the community and how hard it is to try to capture this sense of space, quiet and distant sound in our space that will be basically pretty playful and physical and full of voices.”
Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) was presented at OzAsia Festival in Adelaide. Greg Elliott from InDaily reviewed the experience. “Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) is beautiful, magical, moving and profound – a fine example of an art experience that brings cultures together, explores our humanity and develops empathy for others.”
We returned to The Arts Center at New York University Abu Dhabi with Tangle, and weathered our first ever sandstorm! Tangle held up remarkably well.
Our Ants toured to India as part of Australia Fest, presented by the Australian government. This was Polyglot’s first tour to the region, and we were thrilled to have the opportunity. Viv Rosman wrote: “India and Australia have an increasingly important relationship and it’s a privilege to be invited to connect with Indian children and their families in Kolkata and Chennai. Polyglot is so pleased to contribute to the special friendship between our countries by offering our distinctive brand of Australian innovation, creativity and fun, and as ambassadors for our wonderful home of Melbourne.”
What a year! To see all the exciting things Polyglot has done in 2018, visit our calendar here.