Theatre an uplifting experience for tiny-tot audience

Arts Centre Melbourne, Arts Centre Melbourne 2012
Polyglot Theatre

REVIEW – How High the Sky, The Saturday Age, 20 October 2012

Written by Philippa Hawker

At Polyglot Theatre, they are getting them young: the company’s new work How High the Sky, is for audience members under the age of one. Creating it has been a challenge, says its artistic director, Sue Giles, and the results have often confounded their expectations.

‘It’s been an incredible experience. And it’s an overused word, but it’s been a privilege.”

Polyglot is a children’s theatre company, and this is the first work they have created for this age group. A live soundscape, a cast of performers and a room full of helium balloons combine to create a world of lightness and transformation.

The young audience members are accompanied by adults, but it has been important, Giles says, to get the older spectators “to put themselves in a place where they follow the babies’ lead”, rather than trying to guide their responses.

‘One of the most powerful moments in the show is when we get adults out of the space, and they see their kids from a distance.”

Yesterday the audience included young twins, whose parents told Giles they had never seen them react so differently, one from the other.

How High the Sky, which is at the Arts Centre from Wednesday to Sunday, is part of this year’s Melbourne Festival.

Photograph: Pia Johnson