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.

26 Jul 2023 E-News

Polyglot’s July E-News

“There are many ways to begin finding your play” 

Last week, the Polyglot staff team took part in a Cultural Walk along the banks of the Birrarung (Yarra River) to Dights Falls with Uncle Bill Nicholson Jr from the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation. This was a powerful experience for all of us to more deeply understand and connect to the history and significance of the country on which our office is based. We are very grateful for Uncle Bill’s generosity in sharing his wisdom and culture, and for this opportunity for learning and reflection.

Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

In late June, our Generator artists met for the second Catalyst day of the year. These are paid professional development opportunities for them to gather, share creative practice and play, and interrogate how and why we make our art. Stacie Piper, a Wurundjeri artist, joined us for the morning, and our PIPS (Polyglot Inspiring People Society) arrived in the afternoon.

Early in July, our Generator artists and staff participated in a Trauma Responsive Practice workshop, facilitated by the Australian Childhood Foundation. We invited other peer artists and practitioners to join us for this in-person professional development opportunity.

In mid-July, Polyglot staff attended the Victorian Department of Education Strategic Partnerships Program Network Meeting at Melbourne Museum. It was a day of listening, sharing and learning about decolonising the Australian education system.

Our Producer Julie Wright reflected, “I felt inspired to do more but reassured that we are on the right track at Polyglot. There is so much work to do to create change in the education system and provide support for First Nations children to access decolonised education models. I came away feeling optimistic that these conversations are happening and that all the people in the room can make changes in some way to work towards better outcomes for First Nations children.”

“This space is yours”

In May, Polyglot returned to Japan for the first time since 2018. We worked with our long-time collaborators, Acchi Cocchi, to share a music-filled underwater kelp forest in the Yokohama region. Together, we visited a kindergarten, specialist schools, primary schools and a children’s hospice, reaching over 600 children across 21 sessions.

Access is inherent in Polyglot’s works, with numerous ways ‘in’ for children and their families to engage and participate. It is always a privilege and a joy for our creative teams to facilitate this, and see how our audiences respond. We are grateful for the support of the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, which meant we could tour to Japan and share our work with children with complex disability, limited mobility and illness.

“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.” Tirese Ballard, Generator artist

Logos: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia-Japan Foundation; Creative Victoria.

NYC to Bondi Beach

Our Bees visited Vancouver and Toronto earlier this year, before zooming south of the border to the United States. In late June, Bees was part of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, Connecticut. On 1 July, it was presented by the Lincoln Center, New York City for Big Umbrella Day, an accessible festival for neurodivergent audiences and their families.  Polyglot worked in partnership with Inlet Dance Theatre to deliver these seasons.

Simultaneously, on 1-2 July, our Ants delighted Sydney locals, with free performances presented by Bondi Festival. Children, families and canines gathered to work with the Ants, arranging intricate formations of crumbs in front of Bondi Pavilion with the iconic Bondi Beach in the background.

Thank you

All of us at Polyglot offer an enormous thank you to everyone who supported our mid-year fundraising appeal. Donations of all sizes mean a lot, and ensure we can create and share our wondrous theatrical experiences for children and families, encouraging connection and growth through the power of play and performance.

This year, Polyglot has already reached over 23,000 children and families in six countries. We thank all of our supporters for being here, championing us to share our unique style of child-led performance with young audiences at home and abroad.