December Education News
Since Polyglot Theatre was founded in 1978, we have engaged deeply with school communities. The form has changed significantly throughout the years, but the rich connections and new ways of understanding that come from these collaborations remain an integral part of our creative process.
Our school workshop program has been carefully developed over many years, and we delight in taking these offerings to classrooms in Melbourne and beyond. We also collaborate with schools when developing new performance works that will go on to reach audiences at venues and festivals around the world. In 2022, we have been fortunate to work with multiple schools on a variety of performance experiences, three of which have premiered this year.
Bees is a joyful interactive Play Space, in which children are welcomed into a world of community, communication, wonder and imagination. Development began online in 2020, in the midst of lockdown, and we were very excited to test it in-person in 2021. Children and educators from the University of Melbourne Early Learning Centre were part of this process, and their feedback (physical, verbal, sung, written and drawn) was invaluable. Bees premiered at Abbotsford Convent in April this year, with the ELC returning, and Gold Street Children’s Centre – Keele St Campus also attending, as well as families. Almost 850 people experienced the work over this season, and Bees has already enjoyed five more presentations, including three in the United States.
When the World Turns
When the World Turns, our collaboration across time and distance with Oily Cart in the UK, is a fantastical, immersive theatre production created with and for children with complex disability. Throughout 2022, the Polyglot team worked closely with the students and educators at Coburg Special Development School, and Glenroy Specialist School, while the Oily Cart team worked with specialist schools in the UK. The world premiere of When the World Turns was presented at Arts Centre Melbourne as part of Alter State, a major arts and disability festival, with eight specialist and special development schools, plus families attending across the sell-out season. The huge success of this work, and its robust touring future, both in venues and schools, wouldn’t be possible without the generous creativity from the collaborating students and educators.
Pram People was Polyglot’s final premiere for 2022, and the creative team was privileged to work with the Carlton and Flemington Primary School communities, as well as families at The Venny, throughout the development. Their energy, voices, stories and movement informed and shaped the work, and established the foundation for how we will connect with local communities for future seasons. We were thrilled when Carlton PS walked down to the Museum after school to join us for our final Pram People dress rehearsal – we loved seeing how the students responded to the performance.
In terms 1 and 2, Paper Planet toured to five specialist and special development schools, supported by the Victorian Department of Education & Training Positive Start in 2022 initiative. Over 600 students were able to create and play in the forest of tall cardboard trees. In terms 3 and 4, supported by the Victorian Department of Education & Training Strategic Partnerships Program, Paper Planet has toured to two other specialist and special development schools, reaching over 450 students, with two more engagements planned for the coming weeks.
“Creative arts experiences are essential to a holistic learning experience and growth. We aim to provide… a rich program which allows students to not only learn skills and acquire knowledge but to also learn in a space that allows for freedom of choice, self-expression and joy. Having programs such as Paper Planet has allowed us to bring that to our students.” Educator, special development school
Polyglot is grateful for all of the collaborative relationships we have with other early learning centres and schools, many of which are ongoing. Our work exists to give children the power to be in control, to have an effect and experience freedom. Connecting with school communities connects us with our audience, including children who may not be able to access our work outside of school.
We are committed to advocating for the right of all children to experience arts and culture, promoting the importance of children as a discerning audience from a young age, and we are excited to continue doing so shoulder-to-shoulder with our collaborating schools.