We’ve been thrilled to have our friends from Papermoon Puppet Theatre (Indonesia) with us for the premiere of our new collaborative work Cerita Anak (Child’s Story), presented by Arts Centre Melbourne for Asia TOPA. This stunning new experiential theatre piece for the very young has been a huge work in progress over the past three years, so we would like to extend a very big thank you to all our supporters and creative development participants. We couldn’t have done it without you!
You might have also spotted one of our Boats on the horizon recently in Melbourne – appearing at the Darebin Community and Kite Festival, ArtyFarty Kid’s Fest and the Down by the River festival in Wangaratta this month. We had such a great time sailing around with you! We’ve got some more exciting appearances to be announced soon, so keep an eye on our calendar to find out more!
And if you’re looking for something fun to do these school holidays, don’t forget to check out our FREE at-home activity sheets!
Vale Miss Betty Amsden AO
We were deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, and Patron of Polyglot’s Circle, Miss Betty Amsden AO in February. Betty’s commitment to Polyglot was strong and enduring. Her generosity as a philanthropist for many of Melbourne’s arts and charitable organisations is well known, but Betty also offered us wonderful advice, friendship and wholehearted enthusiasm for everything we pursued. Betty’s delight in the children we work with was always evident, and her favourite place was with them; deep in conversation, having fun beside them, and then making projects possible through her generous support. We’ve seen her blindfolded and walking into walls, wearing a hard hat among cardboard boxes and sitting happily with children around a drawing table. We pay tribute to the incredible energy, advocacy and support Betty gave Polyglot over the 10 years of our relationship, and we will miss her terribly.
Meet the artist: Ria Tri Sulistyani
What was it like to collaborate with Polyglot over three years on Cerita Anak?
Cerita Anak is a project that really becomes like a new recipe, coming from our different experiences as the ingredients. The openness of each people’s heart in this project
s is really the key and such a gift! Seems like it’s easy to say that you will need to be open-minded to do a collaboration. Well, in reality, it’s very hard for many artists. But Cerita Anak is something else. Since this is not our first time collaborating together, you could really feel that there are so many layers that have been made on this project. It’s not about the surface of ‘exchanging culture’. It’s not only about learning each others’ language, talking about how spicy Indonesian foods are, or asking “what do you think of ‘radical people’ in your country”, or “are you eating kangaroo everyday?” It’s about how Polyglot and Papermoon, and the children — as our collaborators — are creating messages about where we are now. There is history, today’s life, fun, laughter, sadness, something scary, all mixed into one journey.
The distance of Melbourne, Sydney and Yogya is definitely another thing. After four periods of working in two different countries, many facetime meetings, tonnes of discussion through so many little details, I am just feeling very glad — really, very glad to be part of this project.
How was the final stage of creative development in Australia?
I do feel like we have been making Luna Park on a boat! Seeing the passengers’ expressions (that’s what we call our audiences) as they come out from the theatre with big shining eyes, big smiles (sometimes tears are involved too), has made this journey feel accomplished! This journey is nothing without the passengers. And it’s good to finally have someone we could share these stories with.
Was there a highlight or most special moment over the whole development process for you?
In each working phase of Cerita Anak, whether it was in Yogya, Lasem, or in Melbourne I woke up every morning with the same energy, same excitement as I close my eyes in the night. The circle of these awesome people, their energy, and how this project really belongs to everybody in the team is such a highlight for me. Every time I sit in the boat designed by Anna Tregolan, having the projection of hundreds of boats around me made by Wulang Sunu, with such a beautiful music by Steph O’Hara, beautiful lighting designed by Richard, or while I am seeing the silk water blown by fans as the idea of Iwan Effendi, I do feel that this beauty could only happen because of the big heart of everybody who was involved in it. Sue Giles made a wonderful composition of this team. LOVE IT!
Are there any plans for the next collaboration between Papermoon and Polyglot?
We really wish that we could bring Cerita Anak to Indonesia. This format for immersive theatre for children and adults will definitely be new and priceless for Indonesian audiences. This is on our list actually and we really hope we can make this happen. Any other projects in the future? Well if someone asks, whom we would love to work with in the future? POLYGLOT is in our top list! And it’s not only because they are awesome, but it’s really lovely to work with friends; people who know us really well, who you could have a sharp discussion with, which end up with a simple and sweet conclusion.
Thank you Ria! We can’t wait to work with you and the Papermoon artists again soon.
First On The Ladder – Latest news from Project Producer, Simone Ruggiero
First On The Ladder is a three year art-meets-sport project that involves two Aboriginal sporting clubs based in Shepparton and Moree. Polyglot Theatre in collaboration with Beyond Empathy will celebrate culture and achievements of Aboriginal children, youth and communities through a series of visual art and sound-based projects.
Last week a group of students from ASHE (Aboriginal Sport Health and Education) and the Rumbalara Football Netball Club in Shepparton joined forces with Melbourne artist, Michael Fikaris, to create a street art team for the first instalment of the First On The Ladder project. The group drew, stencilled and painted a large portrait that was pasted up on a wall on Fryers Street in Shepparton’s CBD.
It’s a taste of what’s to come during the Murray Football League where young people will be turning the Shepparton CBD into a public art gallery by creating street art as a response to moments and incidents captured on match days. The project aims to strengthen cultural pride and community cooperation.
This week, we are in northern NSW in a small town called Moree, where we are meeting and collaborating with the community of the Boomerang Rugby Club to create artworks that can be pasted up in Moree. Director of the project, Ian Pidd, will also run radio broadcast workshops with the community on game days that will build skills in commentating, audio production and interviewing.
We are looking forward to creating work with community that will strengthen creative capacities of children and young people through street art and radio media… stay tuned!