After 22 years in the role, Sue Giles AM has announced she will step down from the position of Artistic Director and co-CEO of Polyglot Theatre at the end of 2022, in order to focus more on her significant international advocacy work.
Board Chair Sarah Hunt says, “Sue Giles is an incredible asset to the arts. The creativity, participation, and joy she has sparked for thousands of young people, their families and communities, both with Polyglot and as a leader of the children’s theatre sector in Australia, and the world is truly remarkable. Her contribution has been nothing short of extraordinary.”
Under Sue’s Artistic Directorship, Polyglot’s work has been eclectic, innovative and participatory with an explorative focus on children’s play and power. Sue has directed and co-created over 40 works for Polyglot Theatre; works that have toured to 18 countries on 5 continents. She has led Polyglot to achieve broad artistic reach and a reputation for excellence, distinction and longevity in its touring works, and a focus on partnerships and collaborations with other companies and artists which has supported the company’s ability to thrive even in the toughest circumstances.
Sue has been recognised with honours including a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the arts industry as an Artistic Director and to children’s theatre, and the Green Room Lifetime Achievement Award. Sue has been a tireless advocate for children’s theatre and the value of children and young people in the world, through her work with the international association of theatre for young audiences, ASSITEJ International. Elected to the ASSITEJ Presidency in 2021, Sue is deeply invested in leading the association through a period of rapid growth and vital activity.
“This company has been my inspiration and delight for 22 years, coming on board as a fledgling Artistic Director and growing in ambition and experience along with the company. What a privilege it is to work with so many brilliant and inspired people along the way – co-CEOs, Artists, Staff and Board as well as all the children, schools and families that have informed our practice. I’m so proud of Polyglot and all we have achieved together so far. I know that the company’s ability to shift and move with the times, its focus on participation, collaboration and evolution, and its reliance on its people at the heart, will mean greater strength, artistic rigour and exploration into the future.”
Sue’s leadership at Polyglot has resulted in a breadth of work and distinctive processes that has brought the company recognition and a position of leadership within the arts in Australia. With Sue’s guidance, Polyglot has grown and evolved over the years and is poised to recover strongly from the disruption of the pandemic.
Executive Director Kath Fyffe acknowledges Sue’s contribution to Polyglot; “I celebrate Sue’s incredible achievements over 22 years with the company, and am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside her. Sue’s creative leadership of the organisation has led to a culture of creative ambition and evolution, as well as a depth of practice that Polyglot is renowned for. Sue’s creative and personal generosity has also helped establish a culture of working that equips the company to embrace change as the next phase of Polyglot’s life beckons.”
A global search for Polyglot’s next Artistic Director will commence in the coming weeks, led by Tony Grierson of Aegeus Executive Search.