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.

May 31 - June 02 2024

Sound of Drawing & Voice Lab at Melbourne Design Week

Witness texture and technology come together in an interactive soundscape and communal works of art with Sound of Drawing, and participate in a beautifully designed experience where children can share their thoughts and opinions, with Voice Lab.

A Sound of Drawing production photo. A child wearing a jacket and headphones, draws intently on a table covered in paper. Other children are visible behind them, also drawing. Photo: Sarah Walker

Presented by Abbotsford Convent

Sound of Drawing
On a long table covered in paper, children and their families wear headphones and draw with soft coloured pastels. The sounds of the pastels on the paper are picked up by sensitive microphones and amplified, turning the physical action of drawing into a live tapestry of sound. Participants listen to this through the headphones, hearing their scratches, swirls, tapping and scribbles as they make their collective mark in abstract artistic masterpieces.

These collaborative designs will be hung in The Store for participants and passers-by to enjoy. Sound of Drawing connects sound, gesture and artistic intention, drawing meaningful creative contributions from children and adults alike. 

Voice Lab
Voice Lab is a unique experience for children to share their thoughts and opinions. One at a time, they are invited into a small, beautifully designed, serene dome, featuring an intricate set of headphones. Wearing these, they have a conversation with the space itself  — Voice Lab. It asks (and answers) questions, encourages opinions and regards the child as the expert.  

Made from canvas and Tyvek, and incorporating lighting, sound and concealed technology, Voice Lab is immersive, theatrical and responsive. Within the heritage surrounds of Abbotsford Convent and its history, Voice Lab provides a safe space for local children to have a say about their present and their future. 



Drop-in session dates & times

  • Friday 31 May: 1:30-3:30pm
  • Saturday 1 – Sunday 2 June: 10am-12pm, 1:30-3:30pm


FREE, drop-in at any time during the sessions. No bookings required. Some families might stay for 10 minutes, others the full two-hour session.

  • Sound of Drawing and Voice Lab will take place indoors at The Store. The Store is located at the southern entrance of the Convent Building. Find your way around Abbotsford Convent with a map.
  • Gender diversity is welcome at the Convent, and patrons are welcome to use any restroom that matches their gender identity or expression. There are both gendered and gender-neutral toilets available across the precinct. View the Public Toilet Map to find a bathroom of your preference.
  • There is a wheelchair accessible ATM in the Abbotsford Convent Precinct; however it is not accessible for people who are blind or have low vision.
  • The ACF is a partner to the national RECHARGE scheme. Accessible power points are available for people to recharge the battery in their motorised wheelchairs, scooters or bikes. The power points are located externally, on the western side of the Providence building.
  • For more information about accessibility at Abbotsford Convent, please visit
  • A visual story to help your family prepare for the experience is available to view/download here.
  • If you have any questions about Sound of Drawing or Voice Lab, please contact Polyglot Theatre on 03 9826 3301 or

Sound of Drawing

  • Sound of Drawing has no English language barrier, and the experience can be entirely non-verbal.
  • Participants are invited to wear headphones to hear the sound of their drawing.
  • Sound of Drawing does not use bright or flashing lights.
  • Participants gather around a table, which is wheelchair accessible.
  • You can come and go from Sound of Drawing at any time during the sessions.


Voice Lab

  • Voice Lab is a white dome with a small entrance.
  • One at a time, participants are invited to crawl inside, sit down and wear headphones connected to the dome by a long cord.
  • Voice Lab will talk through the headphones.
  • It will ask questions in English. It is interested in children’s thoughts and feelings.
  • Voice Lab is a safe space. Children can share what they like.


How to prepare

  • When you come to a Polyglot workshop, we recommend you wear comfortable clothing that allows you to enjoy moving. Remember that you have come for an adventure and there are many ways to begin finding your play. You are curious and this space is yours. Just as you might at the beach, do you take your time and dip your toe in to warm up, or do you run and jump right in? The worlds we set up welcome you to take your time and find your own way to your imaginative play; and our performers are there to join you, or play alongside you, and look after these worlds and their inhabitants. See you soon!
  • Prams are welcome, and can be brought inside the Store.
  • There is a baby change facility in the accessible toilet in the main Convent building.
  • Water, infants’ bottles and breastfeeding/chestfeeding are welcome, but we do ask that there is no eating in the Sound of Drawing and Voice Lab spaces where possible.
  • Food and drinks (including takeaway options) are available to purchase from the Convent Bakery, Kappaya, and Cam’s Kiosk.
  • You are also welcome to BYO food and drinks to Abbotsford Convent for picnicking.


All day parking is available in the car park directly across from the Abbotsford Convent Precinct on St Heliers Street. The machines accept credit cards, notes and gold coins. Funds from the car park go towards the restoration and daily operation of the Convent, and also support the Collingwood Children’s Farm.

Parking weekday rates

  • 30 mins = free
  • 90 mins = $6
  • $2 per hour thereafter
  • 6-10 hours = $15
  • $2 per hour after 10 hours

Parking weekend rates

  • 30 mins = $4
  • 90 mins = $7
  • $2 per hour thereafter
  • 6-10 hours = $16
  • $2 per hour after 10 hours

Max daily rate (until 2am) = $30
Additional overnight fee (after 2am) = $25
Lost ticket = $30

Accessible Parking

The following accessible parking spaces are available for use by holders of a Disabled Persons permit:

  • Two two-hour accessible on-street parking spaces are located on St Heliers Street, beside Gate One.
  • Six accessible parking places are located at the front of the car park on the northern side of St Heliers Street.

Public Transport

  • The Mernda and Hurstbridge train lines stop at Victoria Park Station. The train station is approximately 1km from the Precinct entrance.
  • The 200, 202 and 207 bus routes stop at Clarke St/Johnston St. It is approximately 300m from the Precinct entrance.


  • The Capital City cycling and walking path passes the Precinct. The St Heliers Street turn-off is opposite the entrance to the Collingwood Children’s Farm.
  • Bicycle racks are located throughout the Convent and also adjacent to the car park.

Just four kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD and spread over 16 acres, Abbotsford Convent is Australia’s largest multi-arts precinct—a place of art, culture and learning.

Renowned for its rich history, its striking built and natural landscapes, and the remarkable community-led campaign to preserve it from commercial development, the site was enshrined on Australia’s National Heritage List in 2017. Today, this nationally and internationally unique precinct is managed by the Abbotsford Convent Foundation, a not-for-profit, social enterprise.

The Convent is home to a vibrant creative community, wellbeing practitioners, a gallery, cafes, a radio station, two schools, and an abundance of green open space.

We are passionate about working collaboratively with artists and partnering with arts and cultural organisations to present contemporary, thought-provoking and enriching experiences for all to enjoy. And every year we curate and also welcome over 2,000 art projects, rehearsals, workshops, exhibitions, private and corporate events, markets and festivals.

At the Convent we celebrate creativity, inclusivity, wellbeing and community enrichment—both onsite and online. We look forward to welcoming you to our special place!

Melbourne Design Week (MDW) celebrates design in an annual 11-day program of talks, tours, exhibitions, launches, installations, and workshops across Australia’s design capital. The program is driven by ideas through providing a platform for designers, educators, enthusiasts, thinkers, and businesses to come together to share these ideas, show and sell new work, and consider how design can be used as a force for good in an increasingly complex and precarious world.

Melbourne Design Week and the Victorian Design Program are initiatives of the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.


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