The Generator

The Generator expands Polyglot’s artistic voice by inviting our core artists to engage strongly in our vision.

A Light Pickers creative development photo. A Polyglot artist is buried amongst a pile of abstract glowing objects. Only her face is visible, she is smiling at the camera.

It gives our core artists opportunities to lead the development of new work, undertake artistic leadership roles, represent Polyglot at conferences, deliver training and mentorship to artists and educators, and to receive professional development opportunities within the company. It develops and invests in artists trained in Polyglot’s distinctive and internationally renowned child-led practice, overseen by Artistic Director Sue Giles. 

The Generator is a long-term commitment to Polyglot’s artistic vibrancy.

Achievements include:

Bees, a new Play Space work, commenced creative development via Zoom in 2020 during the height of Melbourne’s lockdown. The original creative team was Tirese Ballard, Nick Barlow, Lachlan MacLeod, Steph O’Hara, Emily Tomlins and Afsaneh Torabi, with Laurel Frank as a design mentor. Bees will premiere in early 2022. 

Invisible Orchestra, a sound installation created by Matthew Kelly, Glen Walton and Andy Callaghan, was supported for two development stages before its premiere at Darebin Arts’ Music Feast in 2016. The work was programmed by Arts Centre Melbourne in 2019 and is now part of Polyglot’s touring repertoire.

Light Pickers, designed by Mischa Long, was developed in 2017, progressing through a creative development showing at ArtPlay in 2018 ahead of its premiere season in 2019 at Abbotsford Convent. 

Shadow Play, conceived by Steph O’Hara, is currently in creative development. Children and families are invited to use their bodies and projected light to create creatures and narratives with their shadows, immersing themselves in a moving world. With manipulated live video and a responsive soundscape, this work plays with the digital double, provoking and transforming shape and motion into magical elements.

Clippy, an interactive sound workshop designed by Glen Walton, was trialled in 2018 before selection for Regional Arts Victoria’s 2019 school touring program. 

International workshops: Mischa Long and Stefanie Robinson designed The Space Talks to Me – creating sensory environments for neurodivergent children and delivered this professional development workshop in China and Japan. Tirese Ballard and Dan Goronszy designed and delivered Polyglot Play – creativity and child-centred practice for educators in the USA. Dan Goronszy and David Pidd designed and delivered an intensive residency for students at United World College of South-East Asia in Singapore.

The Generator is generously supported by the Canny Quine Foundation and the Besen Family Foundation.

  • The most empowering thing you can do for an artist is to give them time, space and freedom… [The Generator] has allowed me to see the limitless potential of art as an agent of social change, and the value of children, not only as audience but as true collaborators.

    Emily Tomlins, Polyglot Artist


Acknowledgment of country

Polyglot acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live and create, and we pay our respects to Elders past and present. For more than 65,000 years, children and families have created and played here, and we are grateful to make our art on this country too.