Polyglot’s December e-news

Canada to Collingwood, Hangzhou to Healesville

What an exciting year 2019 has been! From Canada to Collingwood, Hangzhou to Healesville, we’ve sprinkled immersive, interactive fun around the world, thanks to all of the extraordinary presenters, artists and production personnel we are lucky to work with. Through our performances, installations and workshops, we’ve engaged with over 30,000 people across six different countries. We’ve put together a recap of some highlights – read this here.

2019 also marked the end of our two major Kids Collaborations projects – 5678 Film Club and First On The Ladder. Both of these projects focused on empowering children to trust their creative instincts and to tell their own stories in their own ways. As we approach the end of the year, we’d love you to help us celebrate the power of storytelling by adding your special 2019 Polyglot story, memory or anecdote to our Story Map! Read more here.

Looking forward to the summer break, but need some inspiration for family fun in Melbourne? We’ve put together our go-to list – check it out here.

May 2020 is looking bright for Polyglot, with Paper Planet unfurling at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in California, and a sold-out season of Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) sailing into the Lincoln Center in New York City. We’ve got many other exciting tours and projects in the pipeline – we can’t wait to share them with you.

Thursday 19 December will be the last day that our office is open for the year. The Polyglot team is taking a summer holiday and we’ll be back in the office on Monday 6 January. We hope that you have a safe and happy break, filled with laughter and sunshine. See you in the new year!

2019 at Polyglot Theatre

We launched 2019 with an exciting announcement – our Artistic Director and co-CEO Sue Giles was appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day 2019 Honours List. Sue was recognised with this national honour for her significant service to the performing arts as an artistic director, and to theatre for children. We also delighted families with our noisy and colourful season of Invisible Orchestra at Arts Centre Melbourne and showcased Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) at IPAY in Philadelphia.

“Cat and mouse isn’t always just a game, and games aren’t always just for letting off steam, or having ‘fun’. Polyglot is here and stealthily, art is being made.” Our Term 1 Education News article – The arts in schools – an extended game of cat and mouse by Dr Christine Sinclair – was sent to teachers. Executive Director Viv Rosman commenced the Asialink Leaders Program and was awarded a Weary Dunlop Scholarship to support her participation.

Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) voyaged to China with Art Space for Kids, Boats sailed into Warrandyte Festival, Voice Lab was used by The Smith Family Communities for Children – Bankstown for its Children’s Out Loud project, and First On The Ladder: Shopfront was presented with Rumbalara Football Netball Club as part of Shepparton Festival.

Manguri Wiltja, our collaboration with Tjanpi Desert Weavers and FORM, premiered at the Revealed Aboriginal Arts Market in Perth. Feast was presented at Arts Centre Melbourne, and Beijing audiences loved Cerita Anak (Child’s Story). Sue attended the ASSITEJ International Executive Committee meeting in Uruguay in her capacity as Vice President.

We travelled to Canada for the first time, taking Paper Planet to Ottawa Children’s Festival, and Ants to Junior International Children’s Festival in Toronto. Sandra Robertson and Jacob Boehme joined our Board of Directors, Sue and Polyglot artist Justine Warner travelled to Hong Kong to deliver a Baby Theatre workshop, First On The Ladder: Shopfront was presented in the Melbourne CBD for YIRRAMBOI Festival, and our Term 2 Education News article – Young people, art and hope by Kate Kantor – was sent to teachers. 

Our Canada tour continued, with Paper Planet appearing at the International Children’s Festival of the Arts in Alberta. Ants toured to the Xintiandi Festival in China and Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York City. Light Pickers premiered at our home in Abbotsford Convent.

Sound of Drawing was presented as part of the MLive Family Fiesta, the 5678 Film Club documentary was screened at the Australian Literacy Educators Association (ALEA) National Conference, a new school workshop was tested at ArtPlay, and our beautiful office space designed by McMahon and Nerlich was open to visitors for Open House Melbourne. Our Term 3 Education News article – Education resources and child-led practice: a discursive entanglement by Dr Meg Upton was sent to teachers. 

“[Paper Planet] stimulates the imagination and takes students on an adventure where they are creating and exploring not only on their own but also with other students… It is so inclusive and accessible to everyone in our school and everyone can create no matter what level they are.” Jane Sartori. Paper Planet workshops were delivered at Belvoir Special Development School in Wodonga, supported by the Victorian Department of Education and Training’s Strategic Partnerships Program. Rumba Town was launched by First On The Ladder in Shepparton with an official ribbon cutting!

We returned to Melbourne Zoo with Cat City – a Polyglot play space designed to promote the Zoos Victoria community conservation campaign, Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife. We also returned to Warringa Park School for a multi-week residency. Sue travelled to Norway for an ASSITEJ International Executive Committee meeting, and then back to Melbourne for the Singapore Cultural Leaders Forum.

“It was amazing. So beautiful. My kids were totally engaged for the entire time. And I had the privilege of watching my kids IN the performance. They even stayed behind when the Ants left to stack the crumbs back into piles.” October was huge, with Ants at Healesville Sanctuary, Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) in Singapore at one of our favourite venues, the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Boats in the USA at Without Walls Festival, and a new work – Wild Heads – at Wyndham City Children’s Week Picnic. Our Term 4 Education News article – Understanding the sensory needs of neurodiverse students by Mischa Long – was sent to teachers.

We celebrated the end of 5678 Film Club with a screening at The Kino, and launched its Education Resource at a professional development workshop for teachers at ACMI. Feast was presented in our office space as part of Abbotsford Convent’s Open Spaces Festival, and the Copy Cat team (formerly Hear Me Roar) undertook a script development week.

To celebrate International Day of People with Disability 2019, Geelong Gallery presented our Paper and Tape workshop for children with disabilities. And our year came to a close with a professional development workshop for teachers at the 2019 Drama Victoria State Conference.

Help us celebrate the power of storytelling

“There have been so many moments when an anxious child, or a child who seems to lack confidence or tells us “I can’t do that” is brought into the play by one of our performers… and finds their way to create something, become something, express something that makes them smile and lets their confidence shine…. Those moments are transformative for us both.” Mischa Long, Polyglot artist.

2019 marked the third and final year for Polyglot’s two major Kids Collaborations projects, 5678 Film Club and First On The Ladder.

5678 ran as a weekly after-school film club at St Joseph’s Primary School in Collingwood, where Polyglot and professional filmmakers undertook creative workshops with participants from Grades 5 – 8. The young people were co-creators of the film-making process, giving them a platform to tell their own stories in their own way, and make exciting, innovative and challenging films with children’s ideas and messages at their heart.

First On The Ladder was an art-meets-sport collaboration between Polyglot and Beyond Empathy, in partnership with Rumbalara Football Netball Club in Shepparton, Victoria and the Moree Boomerangs in New South Wales. The project centred on the young people from these two Indigenous sports clubs – celebrating their culture and achievements through a range of creative experiences. These included making large-scale street art exhibits, hand-drawn zines and stop-motion animation, developing songs and dances to create video clips, creative play workshops and radio broadcasting.

Both of these projects focused on empowering children to trust their creative instincts and to tell their own stories in their own ways. 

Help us celebrate the power of storytelling by adding your special 2019 Polyglot experience to our Story Map! Did you attend our 5678 cinema screening? Maybe you came to Light Pickers at Abbotsford Convent, played the musical chairs of Invisible Orchestra, or visited our office? Big or small – we’d love to see your story, memory or anecdote on our map.

Visit the Story Map here and share your personal Polyglot story here.


Summer holidays in Melbourne


We’re looking forward to the long, sunny days that come with summer holidays. If you need some inspiration, we’ve put together a list of our favourite Melbourne hotspots for kids and families.

  • Abbotsford Convent is presenting Sensory Art Lab – Slow Art Collective’s smash-hit school holiday program. The Convent’s c3 Contemporary Art Space is being transformed into a DIY wonderland where families can imagine new worlds and make art together.
  • ArtPlay opens on 11 January – we can’t wait for its 2020 program.
  • Arts Centre Melbourne is a place where children of all ages can be filled with a sense of fun and wonder! See the ACM holiday program here.
  • Circus Oz has summer holiday short courses available for children aged 6-12.
  • From a gingerbread village to a 25-metre slip and slide, have fun in the City of Melbourne this summer.
  • Get your hands gloriously dirty at the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden.
  • Kensington Adventure Playground, or ‘The Venny’ is a great place for intrepid explorers to roam. During the school holidays, drop-in sessions run Tuesday-Saturday, 1pm-5pm.
  • Visit the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery at Melbourne Museum for hands-on exploration and discovery, open-ended play-based learning, extraordinary immersive environments and unique museum collection objects.
  • Check out the MKids program at MPavilion.
  • Visit the brand new Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter at the State Library of Victoria.
  • Welcome in the New Year with our friends at the Yarra City Council, who are proud to present Yarra Park Life: a free outdoor cinema, the Yarra Dog Show, a fantastic view of the fireworks, and delicious offerings from the food trucks.