Polyglot’s December e-news: what a year!

All of a sudden it’s the very end of 2017 – what a year it has been! We’re thrilled to share with you that in 2017, we have reached audiences of over 43,000 people in Australia and overseas, we have held 187 school and community workshops, and given 246 performances. Thank you for your interest and support throughout the year, and we look forward to sharing our 2018 adventures with you

Our 40th birthday celebrations continue – a big thank you to those who have already supported our 40th Birthday Appeal! This month we share some insights from Polyglot’s founder Naomi Tippett AM. While the direction of the company has changed since its 1978 beginnings, we are proud that Naomi is still a keen supporter, and a member of Polyglot’s Circle Donor Program. You can read Naomi’s words here. For more information about our 40th birthday, our plans for 2018, and how you can celebrate with us, click here.

Following its first creative development period, we held two small showings of Light Pickers early in December. This is the newest work-in-progress from The Generator, Polyglot’s artistic leadership and creative development program. Devised by Polyglot Theatre artist Mischa Long for children aged 3 and under, Light Pickers was born from the premise that small children are irresistibly drawn to sources of light. Sculptural cardboard and paper objects fill the space, light and sound emanating from them, inviting children to explore. As they play with the objects, the children create a unique garden of light, transforming the space and inspiring fascination and wonder. The creative development saw Mischa collaborating with fellow Polyglot artists Stefanie Robinson, Glen Walton and Hannah Murphy, and one of our favourite photographers, Sarah Walker, captured some truly special moments, including the image above.

January will be a month of jet-setting! Macau City Fringe Festival launched earlier in December, and Sue Giles will be flying over to present a talk and a workshop about creating theatre for babies. Sue writes, “This is a very special invitation [to present at the Festival] because I get the opportunity to not only present some philosophy and conceptual approaches to a broad audience, but also explore artistic process through an extended workshop with artists who are really interested in creating in this form.” Sue will then fly to directly to Nuremberg, Germany, to attend the meeting of the Executive Committee of ASSITEJ International. Viv Rosman will be in New York City for the International Society for the Performing Arts Congress, attending as an Australian Fellow and pitching Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) at the Pitch New Works session – only ten works are selected for this each year. Julie Wright will also be in the United States of America attending the International Performing Arts for Youth 40th Anniversary Showcase in Philadelphia.

Heading into the summer holidays, we’re sharing some of our go-to places to find out what’s on for kids and families in Melbourne, as well as some of our favourite destinations and venues to visit! Plus, find out what the festive season and summer holidays mean to the Polyglot team.

Lastly, please note that Polyglot Theatre will be closed from 22 December – 1 January.

We hope that you have a wonderful few weeks – see you in 2018!


Forty years on – reflections from Polyglot’s founder, Naomi Tippett AM

“If you had told me forty years ago, as I contemplated the genesis of Polyglot, that the company would be so strong and still playing to children all these years later, I would not have believed you. Our beginnings were very humble. The original $3000 grant from the Schools Commission morphed into an $18,000 donation to establish the company and after twenty years of hard work, when I finally retired from the company, Polyglot was performing 500 shows a year in schools.

Twenty years on, I stood on the steps of the Arts Centre Melbourne, watching Tangle being played in and created by Australian children from so many different cultural backgrounds: China, Vietnam, India, Italy, Sudan and more. I could see that the company is still achieving its original purpose of promoting multicultural understanding among Australian primary school children. This gives me such a sense of pleasure and pride.

The company’s inspiration, dedication, commitment, excellence, creativity and fun are as fresh as it was when we started, but twenty years later, the mode of delivery has completely changed. In 1998 when I retired as General Manager, almost all shows were in schools and puppets were the cast. They could speak many languages and it only required two or three performers to have a cast of twenty or more. This meant the ticket price – $3 a child – was affordable for everyone. Nowadays the company tours extensively overseas, and there are 12 in the office instead of three, and yet the philosophy has remained true – access, possibility, and children at the heart of it all.

Theatre for children is a universal way of learning about life – setting benchmarks and defining boundaries. As a teaching tool and purveyor of messages, theatre has been linked with the history of people since the ancient civilisations. It embraces many talents – the script, the set, the costumes, the music, the performance, the making, the watching, the listening. Children can experience grief without fear or pain, wickedness without guilt, selfishness, greed and cruelty without remorse. The possibilities are limitless.

Drama has a great power to influence behaviour. Polyglot provides the opportunity for innovative, exciting and dynamic experiences that enrich the lives of thousands of children.

Polyglot you are wonderful! May you still be here in another forty years. I wonder what you’ll look like then?”

Naomi Tippett, Founder – Polyglot Theatre

In 2018, Polyglot Theatre turns 40 – help us celebrate and see your donation double! For more information about our birthday and to give, visit our 40th Birthday Appeal page      

Image: Naomi Tippett (centre) with one of her favourite Polyglot productions, Almost A Dinosaur, 1997


Things to do in Melbourne this summer

Wondering what to do with the kids in Melbourne this summer? We’ve put together some of our favourite places to find out what’s on for kids and families, and some of our favourite destinations and venues to visit! Head to their websites to plan your next adventure.

Abbotsford Convent – check out the Convent Kids program.

ACMI – check out the Families section.

ArtPlay“a place where children – from babies to 12 year olds – can explore their creativity and share unique artistic experiences with professional artists.”

Arts Centre Melbourne – check out the Families and Youth program.

Busy City Kids“We find and review events, exhibitions, activities, programs, playgrounds, apps, products, parents rooms for bubs, kids and children in Melbourne and Sydney so you don’t have to!” 

CHILD Magazines – online and in print.

Circus Oz holiday classes – a great introduction to the circus!

City of Melbourne What’s On – check out the Kids & Family section.

ellaslist Melbourne“Activities for Kids, Toddlers, Preschoolers & Mums in Melbourne: Discover things to do, places to go, family friendly events, activities & more.”

Fed Square – a summer season packed full of events!

MeeToo“Melbourne with kids: what shall we do today?”

Melbourne Museum – check out the school holiday activities.

Melbourne Zoo – children on weekends and holidays go free!

MPavilion – check out MKids.

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – play in the Children’s Garden, take guided tours, and catch a film at the Moonlight Cinema

Scienceworks – check out the school holiday activities.

TimeOut Melbourne – check out the Kids section. “Kids events, family friendly and activities for children in Melbourne”

TOT: HOT OR NOT – check out what’s hot and what’s not! Kids Activities Melbourne | Playgrounds & Play Centres | Child Friendly Cafes & Restaurants | Family Travel | Products” 

You can also check your local council’s website to find out what’s happening in your neighbourhood.

Remember, if you are spending time in the sun, please SLIP SLOP SLAP. SunSmart Victoria, the skin cancer control program of Cancer Council Victoria, has great tips for parents and carers – visit their website for more info: www.sunsmart.com.au

Photography: Sarah Walker, 2013


We’re all going on a summer holiday!

The days are longer, the sunshine is warmer, and school students are counting down to the last day of school. Polyglot will be closed for a full festive week, and we wanted to share what holidays mean for all of us.

Sue Giles, Artistic Director & co-CEO
“At the end of 2017, to celebrate a ridiculous year of travel and exploration, I will be staying happily at home in my backyard, with friends and family around a big table laden with delicious food, the old dog twitching in the sun, the chooks scratching about and our bees relentlessly working working working!  I shall look at those bees and feel very relaxed.”

Viv Rosman, Executive Director & co-CEO
“For me, holidays = the beach! And given how much international travel is involved in working at Polyglot, it means a beach close to home. So I’m spending my holidays on several of Sydney’s gorgeous beaches, and on the New South Wales South Coast in a tiny peaceful town with one shop. There’s nothing to do except swim, sleep, eat and read – perfect! Early in the new year, I’m off to New York City for the ISPA Congress. Although it’s not a holiday, it’s a pretty exciting trip and a great contrast to my quiet holiday plans.”

Gail Southwell, General Manager
“On Christmas Eve, family and close friends gather at our house to eat, drink and make merry, and when the sun sets we light candles throughout the house. It is the one night we turn off the electricity and enjoy the simplicity of laughing together and easy conversation.”

Fleur Brett, Bookkeeper
“It is mum’s turn this year to host our family for Christmas. She has booked four cabins on the banks of the upper Murray River near Walwa. Both my brothers and their families (and dogs) from Brisbane and Hobart, as well as my cousin from Canberra, will congregate there to swim, have canoe races, play tennis and golf. There are two great country pubs on both sides of the river so no one needs to cook.”

Kate Kantor, Project Director – 5678 Film Club
“This summer, my family and I will be doing rather a lot of camping in various locations around wonderful Victoria. I’m getting myself ready for squashing way too many bags / eskies/ tents / bathers / books / mosquito repellent / marshmallows and people into our car and just hitting the road. There is also the small matter of Christmas Day which will no doubt involve some hugely ambitious and wildly complex recipes as we will have time to just cook for the fun of it. Bring it on!”

Nami Nelson, Development Manager
“Christmas is all about the beach and water for us this year! My brother and his fiancée are escaping the cold in Amsterdam by coming out for a summer Christmas, and the whole family is migrating to our Airbnb house overlooking the bay in Mount Eliza. We have a little boatshed down there so we will swim, fish, eat, explore the beaches and eat some more. Generally just being warm and full before the chaos of the new year, when everyone heads back to their various homes and busy lives.”

Lexie Wood, Project Manager – Voice Lab, & Company Administrator
“This year we’re heading to Adelaide for a pre-Christmas catch up with my partner’s family. On Christmas day we always go to my family’s house in the Yarra Valley for a big, sprawling lunch and will stay up there for a few days amongst the trees and the birds. I want to take my 4 year old son Obi around the corner for a splash in the river – the Yarra is much more inviting up there… I’m looking forward to some lazy days at home watching the vegies grow. My partner will have the cricket on non-stop when he’s not at the MCG, and we will probably spend hours playing cricket in the backyard with Obi – a talented left-handed batsman who rarely lets anyone else have the bat!”

Erica Heller-Wagner, Communications Coordinator
“Christmas this year will be a riot of family celebrations! My mum is flying down from Sydney, and my partner’s family are all Melbourne-based, so we’re expecting lots of laughter, lots of cuddles with all the dogs, lots of excellent Champagne, and lots of food! And in between gatherings, my partner and I will be enjoying some quality time with our two divine ratties, Spagmoss and Bayleaf. Rats get a bad rap, but they are actually sweet angels of love!”

Photograph: Juan Salamanca from Pexels 

From all the team at Polyglot, we hope your festive season is safe, happy and restful. See you in the New Year!