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.

September 14 - September 18 2022

When the World Turns at Arts Centre Melbourne

A fantastical experience for young people with complex disabilities and their families, leading a participating audience into a sensory state of mind and body.

A When the World Turns photo. A child sits amongst plants and trees, clasping a large spherical object that partially covers their face. It is night and the image is dark, with deep purple tones. Photographer: Sarah Walker

A collaboration between Polyglot Theatre (Aus) and Oily Cart (UK)

When we are still we can feel the world turning.

You are invited to come on an adventure that will take you into the heart of a wondrous landscape, to become part of a wild place of the senses. Your family can see, hear, touch and smell this strange, rustling, breathing world as it reveals itself. Starting in your own home, this adventure will be one you remember, full of surprise and wonder.

In a landscape of living foliage, through sound, light, scents and shadows, When the World Turns playfully explores our connection with each other and with the world. In this place humans are equal parts of a new, inclusive ecology.

Please note:

Target audience: When the World Turns is designed for children with complex disabilities of all ages (who often face the most barriers to access) and their families or teachers/carers. ‘Families’ may include siblings, parents, family members and support people. A total of five people can be accommodated per family booking. Each school session can accommodate eight groups, with up to two students and two support people in each group. Each student must be accompanied by an adult.

Warning: When the World Turns contains low theatrical lighting, light and shadow, amplified music and sound effects, a variety of plants and foliage, and use of naturally scented sprays.

Visual Story: A Visual Story will be sent to each participant prior to your arrival at Arts Centre Melbourne.

Please read the FAQs before booking.

The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne
100 St Kilda Rd
Melbourne, VIC 3004
Find it on Google Maps

The Pavilion is located inside Arts Centre Melbourne’s Theatres Building (the one with the spire) on Level 8. The Pavilion has carpeted flooring and is wheelchair accessible. It is above the Arts Centre Melbourne St Kilda Rd entrance, which is also wheelchair accessible.



What is When the World Turns?
When the World Turns is an interactive theatrical production created specifically for children with complex disabilities (who often face the most barriers to access) and their families or teachers/carers. ‘Families’ may include siblings, parents, family members and support people. A total of five people can be accommodated per family booking. Each schools session can accommodate eight groups, with up to two students and two support people in each group. Each student must be accompanied by an adult.

How many people are in each session?
In a performance for families, the audience is comprised of eight family ‘pods’ (groups) each made up of between two and five people. Family ‘pods’ can include a mix of adults and children from a single family and must include at least one child with complex disabilities and one adult.

In a performance for schools, the audience is comprised of eight ‘pods’ (groups). Each pod can allow up to two students from the same school and one or two of their teachers or support people.

What sort of show is it?
When the World Turns asks our audience to be participants in the work and this means adults as well as children. In the show, you won’t be in a traditional ‘audience’ seating arrangement. Instead, you will be surrounded by the world we have created and right in the middle of action and atmosphere.

How can I help my child prepare for this experience?
When the World Turns begins at home or in the classroom, with a sensory package delivered for you to explore together. Inside is a simple creative kit and a short audio experience, designed to spark magic and connect with the natural world you will encounter in the show. The package will also include a visual story, which will provide information about the venue and what will happen when you arrive and during the performance.

How will Arts Centre Melbourne know what our access requirements are?
After booking your tickets Arts Centre Melbourne will send you a link to an online form to find out your access requirements and other details so the artists can provide the best experience for you and your family or class.

Why do I need to provide additional information?
Polyglot Theatre and Oily Cart request this information so they can tailor the performance and understand the ways your child or students’ communicate. We will treat this information with confidentiality. If you have any concerns or questions about this please contact us.

Are there any content warnings?
When the World Turns contains low theatrical lighting, light and shadow, amplified music and sound effects, a variety of plants and foliage, and use of naturally scented sprays.

Where are the accessible toilets and Changing Places?
The closest accessible toilets to the When the World Turns performance space are on level 8 – directly opposite the Pavilion main doors. There are also accessible toilets on Level 3, 5, and 6.

A Changing Places is located on Level 3 of Hamer Hall near the south lift, designed for the exclusive use of people with disability, their families and carers. Changing Places are accessible toilets with full-sized change table, hoist system, toilet and basin.

Users are asked to bring their Master Locksmith Access Key (MLAK) to open this toilet. For health and safety reasons we do not provide slings. Visitors are asked to bring their own which should be compatible with the loop system. The facility is open daily Monday to Sunday 9am – 11pm. Contact Hamer Hall Security on (03) 9281 8288 to access the facility outside Hamer Hall’s opening hours. Please contact security if a MLAK key is required.

What if we need to take a break during the performance?
There will be a safe, quiet, comfortable, low-lit, enclosed space if you need some time out from sensory stimulation. The Front of House staff will show you this space when you arrive.

How much time does the performance take?
The entire When the World Turns experience is approximately 60 minutes, including time to enter at your own pace, and to explore the space when the show finishes. The theatrical performance element of the show is approximately 30 minutes.

Who can I talk to if I have further questions?
Please contact us via email for any other questions about When the World Turns.

Who should I contact on the day of the performance if I need to get in touch?
We will provide a mobile phone number so you can talk directly to our front of house staff in the venue on the day. This phone number will be provided in an email a few days before the show.

Are there baby change facilities?
Yes, all accessible bathrooms at Arts Centre Melbourne have baby change facilities.

Where can we eat our lunch?
Food may be eaten in the foyer of the Pavilion, on the lawn area between the Theatres Building and Hamer Hall or in the Queen Victoria Gardens opposite Arts Centre Melbourne.

Can food and drink be taken into the performance?
Water, infants’ bottles and breastfeeding/chestfeeding are welcome, however we do ask that there is no eating (where possible) during When the World Turns.

Public Transport


The trams that stop in front of Arts Centre Melbourne are: 1, 3, 3a, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67 and 72. This stop is number 14 – “Arts Precinct ”.

This tram stop is accessible for people who use wheelchairs.

There is a super stop on Southbank Boulevard at the corner of Grant Street and Sturt Street. Tram 1 stops at this super stop, but it is a longer distance to our buildings than stop number 14.

Visit the PTV website to find out if your tram route has low floor trams.


Flinders Street Station is the nearest train station to Arts Centre Melbourne. It is located across the Yarra River and is a few hundred metres walking distance away. Find out more about the access on Metro Trains and at Flinders Street Station

To get to Arts Centre Melbourne from Flinders St Station, exit onto Swanston St. Then turn your back on the city and cross the river. Hamer Hall is the first building and is large, round and located on the banks of the Yarra River. Next to this, separated by a lawn, is our Theatres Building. This building has a spire on the top.


Ticket holders for Where the World Turns will have access to complimentary parking in the Arts Centre Melbourne car park.

Please enter the car park in the far-left lane to enter the upper level. Once you have taken a ticket, please turn left directly after the boom gate and park in either the accessible bays or the reserved parking area. Please keep the original ticket, and request a voucher from Front of house staff at the performance which will reduce the fee to zero on exit. Our car park has a height restriction of 1.9m.

It is 10-15 metres between accessible parking spaces and the lift to the venue. Please take a ticket as you enter the carpark and you can request a voucher from our front of house staff at the performance which will reduce the fee to zero on exit.

Street parking

There are two free accessible parking spaces on the Arts Centre Melbourne side of St Kilda Road between the Theatres Building and Hamer Hall. There are limited free parking spaces on Southbank Boulevard. These spaces cannot be reserved, and time limits may apply.

Pick up/drop off

The nearest pick up and drop off points to Arts Centre Melbourne’s Theatres Building and Hamer Hall are:

  • In the Arts Centre Melbourne car park – cars who enter and leave within 15 minutes will not be charged a fee. Take a ticket from the machine at the entrance into the car park and put it back into the machine on the way out.
  • Both outside lanes on St Kilda Road, across from the Theatres Building. Drop off in the Northbound lane is better if you have booked an Arts Centre Melbourne wheelchair and requested a staff meet you with it.

Please note: St Kilda Road is often congested and the Northbound lane can be difficult to access. Sometimes the road is closed for events and works. Find out more information on the City of Melbourne Road Closure page


The Arts Centre Melbourne First Call Fund program can provide travel subsidies for eligible schools. The school is responsible for advising us that a transport reimbursement is required and should organise transport with their preferred supplier. More information and full terms and conditions can be found here.

Drop off points for chartered buses are located in the (city-bound) service lane of St Kilda Road outside the NGV and Hamer Hall, but there is no parking permitted at these locations. Two-hour bus parking is available opposite Arts Centre Melbourne along St Kilda Road and is regulated by the Melbourne City Council. For more details please visit or call (03) 9658 9658.

When the World Turns has been created via a remote collaboration online; each team working in their local context when possible, then sharing results.

Co-directors: Sue Giles and Ellie Griffiths
Eco Scenography: Dr Tanja Beer
Sound Designer: Max Reinhardt
Sound Realisation: Steph O’Hara
Lighting Designer: Richard Vabre
Dramaturgy: Kate Sulan and Arti Prashar
Australian Performing Team: Clement Baade, Tirese Ballard, Lachlan MacLeod, Kuda Mapeza, David Pidd
Producers: Rainbow Sweeny (Polyglot) and Zoë Lally (Oily Cart)

Original Creative Development Teams

Australia: Leisa Prowd, David Pidd, Ashlee Hughes, Jen Tran, Kate Sulan, Rawcus ensemble, Afsaneh Torabi

UK: Greta McMillan, Nwando Ebizie, Andrea Carr, Rhiannon Armstrong, Xavier Velastin, Emily Nicholl, Claire Willoughby

Creative Advisor: Dr Jill Goodwin

Schools and families who were part of the process

Australia: ArtPlay families, Coburg Special Development School, Glenroy Specialist School, Hume Valley School
UK: Linden Lodge School, The Bowen family, the Li family, the Murphy family

Commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne for major arts and disability festival Alter State, When the World Turns is supported by the UK/Australia Season Patrons Board, the British Council and the Australian Government as part of the UK/Australia Season, with further support from the Cassandra Gantner Foundation, State Trustees Australia Foundation, the Jennifer Prescott Family Foundation, the Marian and E.H. Flack Trust, ArtPlay and Arts Council England.

Supporter logos for When the World Turns

Polyglot Theatre thanks Ecodynamics for supporting When the World Turns.

LOGO: Ecodynamics

You’re invited to Alter State. A celebration of disability, creativity and culture.

Alter State is a major arts and disability festival engaging artists and audiences from Australia and Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Co-founded and presented by Arts Centre Melbourne and Arts Access Victoria, we invite you to:

Explore Deaf and Disability led art from Australia and Aotearoa

Enjoy works that engage audiences in new and exciting ways

Be part of making space for kōrero and storytelling shaped by disability


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