Polyglot’s June enews – Helpmann nomination and Sticky Maze in South Korea

We’re thrilled to announce our newest work Cerita Anak (Child’s Story), co-created with Papermoon Puppet Theatre Indonesia, has been nominated for a Helpmann Award! This collaborative work was years in the making and only made possible through the generous support of our supporters including our very special donors. If you’d like to help us create more theatre for children, please consider giving to our end of financial year appeal!

The Polyglot team have been out and about over the past month on tour, attending conferences and creating new works for children across the country and the world. Our wonderful Artistic Director, Sue Giles, traveled to South Africa for the 19th World Congress of ASSITEJ International where she was elected as one of three Vice Presidents on the ASSITEJ International Executive Committee! Sue will continue to work for children’s cultural rights across the world through this global association and says of her role on the committee: “ASSITEJ offers a community of dedicated, passionate and visionary people who have the rights of the child firmly at the centre of their work in all performance forms. This is an inspiring group of people and an association that believes in inclusion, research, connection, beauty, meaning and power through the flexible understanding of theatre in all cultural contexts.” Congratulations Sue!

Closer to home, we’ve got a whole lot of fun planned for the winter school holidays including two free days of Paper Planet at the Glen Eira Storytelling Festival and Ants at the Melbourne Museum’s Bug Lab exhibition!


Ants go marching into Melbourne Museum

Did you know ants can be found on every continent on the world except Antarctica? Just like the real thing, Polyglot’s Ants have traveled the world and appeared in Brazil, the USA, Singapore and Poland. Now the Ants are back in Melbourne and set to take over the Melbourne Museum next month as part of their incredible Bug Lab exhibition. We spoke with Polyglot artist and Ant Zak Pidd about what it’s like to be one of our Ants!

Tell us a bit about your background as an artist and what you do with Polyglot
I really found my feet as a performer through music. I started playing in bands as a teenager which turned into further explorations into live performance. I began working with Polyglot as a drummer and just kept adding roles to my repertoire and they kept letting me. Polyglot requires a wide range of skills from their artists so it’s been great getting a chance to work a variety of artistic muscles.

What’s it like to be an Ant and how does it compare to other Polyglot roles?
Ants also stands out from other Polyglot works as it is quite meditative and explores the power of non-verbal communication. When three silent, human sized ants who only communicate through action and synchronised clicking appear in front of a group of young people generally used to being told explicitly what they need to do some very interesting, honestly quite moving conversations are had.

What are you looking forward to most about the Melb Museum season of Ants?
Being able to work in a place that relies on people being open-minded and explorative such as the Melbourne Museum is really exciting. Hopefully kids will have had their brains massaged and there eyes opened just in time to play with some giant ants and we can make some wild shapes together. I can’t wait to hang out there for a week.


Sticky Maze premieres in South Korea
Polyglot Theatre’s Sticky Maze will be performed for the first time in South Korea as part of the ASSITEJ Korea International Summer Festival in Seoul next month, with additional performances at the Hanam Arts Centre and Ansan Cultural Square. The Festival includes an incredible program of children’s theatre including 14 performances from 11 different countries.


Generating new work!

Launched in 2016, the Generator is Polyglot’s new approach to artistic leadership and development. Two exciting new works will be part of this project in 2017 – Light Pickers with artist Mischa Long, generously supported by City of Stonnington, and Hear Me Roar with Elbow Room which will be part of ArtPlay’s fantastic New Ideas Lab.

Light Pickers will involve the youngest of children, exploring their attraction to light through a light-based play space. Children will be invited to dig for the source of light from a carefully designed pile of ‘rubbish’ to find glowing objects within plastic bottles, bags and cardboard spools and stencil-cut shapes lit from within. They can then use these objects to build larger structures — to make plants, pathways and towers of tree-like light shapes. This work will be designed especially for younger children, who are fascinated by light and shadows.

Hear Me Roar is the first collaboration between Polyglot and Elbow Room, an award-winning independent theatre company specialising in political contemporary performance. Elbow Room’s co-Artistic Director, Emily Tomlins, is also one of Polyglot’s core artists. Hear Me Roar will explore the pervasive power of gender stereotypes on children, from the expectations of their parents and society; before birth, and throughout childhood. It will investigate the differences and similarities in children, regardless of gender identification, and create a space in which the subjects of these stereotypes – kids – are given the opportunity to make their own choices.

The Hear Me Roar team will be visiting schools to begin the creative investigation in late 2017, and then testing ideas through workshops with kids with the assistance of ArtPlay’s New Ideas Lab in early 2018. The developments and workshops will centre on an exploration of choice and the ways in which those choices, and who makes them, affects the way children see themselves, participate in the world, and understand what might be possible for their futures. The really exciting opportunity that working with children on this project will provide is their unique insight into what has become a very adult and politicised issue. The creative team is hoping to use this insight to create a show which is both empowering and fun for children, and thought-provoking for adults.