Polyglot’s July e-news – adventures in the desert as Play Space productions hit the world stage

An exciting month for Polyglot: people and (bright pink!) suitcases in and out of the office, updates and show reports from extraordinary places arriving in our inboxes, well-deserved holidays and long-planned Polyglot tours happening simultaneously. We have two new faces in the office – Nami Nelson is our new Development Manager, and Erica Heller-Wagner is our Acting Communications Coordinator.

Early in the month, Polyglot’s Artistic Director Sue Giles and a team of artists travelled to Warakurna, Western Australia, for the second development phase of In Your Hands (working title) – a new collaboration with Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Polyglot and FORM. Sue has shared with us some of her reflections – you can read her remarkable words for a glimpse into the creative process.

Over the Victoria winter school holiday, Ants delighted at Melbourne Museum, with young visitors to the Bug Lab exhibition inspired to assist the Ants with precise ant busy-ness. Sticky Maze trickily bewildered audiences in South Korea in three cities for the ASSITEJ Summer Festival Korea. The final performance in Ansan is coming up this weekend and we’re crossing our fingers that the summer storms hold off!

We rounded out July with a jaunt to Sydney for the 2017 Helpmann Awards. Our production of Cerita Anak (Child’s Story), co-created with Papermoon Puppet Theatre in Indonesia and presented by Arts Centre Melbourne in Asia TOPA, was nominated for the Best Presentation for Children award. We were so thrilled to be included among such an inspiring group of theatre-makers for young audiences. Big congratulations to the winner – Powerhouse Youth Theatre and Force Majeure for their production Jump First, Ask Later. Well-deserved!

Adventures in the desert – our time with the Tjanpi Desert Weavers in Warakurna

Sue Giles

Picture a map of Australia. Now picture the middle-most spot on the map. This is where Warakurna is – a remote and beautiful place near the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory in the NPY lands of Indigenous Australia. Four of us Polyglotters, four people from FORM in Perth and one person from NPY Women’s Council, met up at Yulara and travelled in convoy along red dirt roads for five hours west. We juddered over corrugations, stirring up clouds of dust, past haughty camels, wheeling wedgetails and through the beautiful MacDonnell ranges until we reached the small community of Warakurna – our home for the next 13 days. The middle of…everywhere.


Polyglot Theatre’s Play Space Productions on the world stage2011-Lo-Res-IMAGE-Paper-Planet-Fed-Square-Martin-Reddy(6)_web

Audiences around the world will experience Polyglot Theatre’s world-renowned Play Space works in August as the company presents Paper Planet in China and Ants in the United States of America. Paper Planet and Ants are among Polyglot Theatre’s most popular Play Space productions. These works deliver experiences that are spectacular, participatory and one-of-a-kind. They use simple materials and elegant frameworks to allow for instinctive creativity, physical engagement and fun.

After a successful season of Paper Planet at Shanghai Children’s Art Theatre in February of this year, Polyglot Theatre is touring the show to Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre in Jiangsu Province and Huzhou Grand Theatre in Zhejiang Province in August. Opened in 2007 and home to the Suzhou Ballet Theatre, Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre is an important platform of international culture exchange and the base for Suzhou’s culture innovation industry.

For its second tour to the USA in 2017, Polyglot Theatre takes Ants to Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, and Breckenridge International Festival of Arts. One of the most celebrated art museums in the country, the Walker Art Center is known for its innovative presentations and collections across the spectrum of contemporary visual, performing, and media arts. Inspired by themes of environment and mountain culture, Breckenridge International Festival of Arts is a multi-arts festival that takes place high in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Demand for international theatre experiences for American audiences continues to grow, with 2017 being the eighth year of Polyglot’s unique work being presented in cities across the USA.

For dates, session times and venue information, visit our events calendar.

Welcome Nami Nelson – Polyglot’s new Development Manager 

Nami joined the team in May as our new Development Manager, and has been working up a storm ever since. Polyglot Theatre is her first foray into the arts – her previous experience being in public health and community development projects. Read Nami’s bio here. Welcome to the team!

We asked Nami a few questions to get to know her a bit better…

I wanted to work with Polyglot Theatre because…
I have my own project working with kids and as part of that I went to a 5678 Film Club presentation last year, which introduced me to Polyglot. I love the way that the company engages with kids and provides opportunities to explore creativity.

My project is called Cityseekers – urban exploration for kids aged 9-12. They go on treasure hunts that connect them to local community, history, cultural diversity, and art in local neighborhoods and the CBD.

My favourite thing about my job is…
That the Polyglot team are such talented, dedicated, amazing and lovely people.

My hidden talent is…
Finding the most annoying, yet effective, ways to wake up my partner’s daughter in the morning to go to school. Loudly singing made-up ‘good morning’ songs, tickling, yelling random things; it’s a creative early morning exercise that I don’t think is appreciated for its effectiveness.

My favourite childhood memories are…
The first is visiting my relatives in Michigan, USA in winter with the snow all around and tobogganing down a hill with my little brother, falling off and making snow angels.

The second is playing with the neighbourhood kids in the street. We lived on a hill and we liked to go to the top of the street and ride down on bikes, roller skates anything that moved and try not to put on the brakes too soon. One day we made our own super-long skateboard out of roller skate wheels and a floorboard. We managed to get 6 people on it and it went down the hill pretty fast.