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.

9 Jul 2024 Sector & Advocacy

National NAIDOC Week

National NAIDOC Week web banner, featuring featuring the 2024 poster artwork, 'Urapun Muy' by artist Deb Belyea, and logo, courtesy of

Blak Xmas

Written by Lauren Swain and Lauren Sheree


LOZ 1: Lauren Swain, Dabee Wiradjuri theatre maker, who grew up on Ngarigo Country and is now based in Naarm.

LOZ 2: Lauren Sheree is an artist and musician hailing from Wakka Wakka Country and now based on Wurundjeri land in Melbourne.

Callie: Loz 2’s Greyhound, who is the sweetest angel.

Prologue: Thornbury, Wurundjeri Country

T’was the week before Blak Xmas, when Loz 1 and Loz 2 came together to make a big fire.

From paper and tape, with cuppas in hand, after a big day of Polyglot choir.

They yarned creativity and play, legacy and love as they sheltered from the winter’s day cloud.

They remembered the people that shaped them and the places that made them, as their fire burnt, blak, loud and proud.


Loz 2’s dining table

Loz 1 and Loz 2 are sitting at the table making a fire out of paper and tape. Callie the greyhound is intrigued and staring up with curiosity.

LOZ 1: Soooo Loz, what does the theme of this years NAIDOC ‘Keep the fire burning! Blak, loud and proud’ mean to you, in relation to the work that we do with young people?

LOZ 2: So specifically in the context of our work with Polyglot we focus on making work with, for and by young people and that is exactly what the theme of this year is all about. It’s about keeping the spark between the generations glowing, inspiring the people who come after us, just as people who came before us inspired us. It’s also about continuing to make sure that we are passing on the skills and pushing boundaries and inviting mob into spaces (that we have had the privilege to be in) that they may not have ever been in (including us) if there weren’t people who continue to bring mob and other marginalised young people into these spaces. It’s about making sure there is not as many obstacles for the young ones coming up and to continue to pass on legacies that have been passed onto us.

LOZ 1: That just about sums it up! Ha! Plus one to that. All of that! I don’t know if I really need to add to that. Nailed it!

LOZ 2: HA! Nailed it!

Callie: Woof Woof (Nailed it!)

LOZ 1: Yeh, exactly Callie! We gotta keep stoking our own fires and other people’s fires (young and old) so we can all burn bright together. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to stoke your own fire. But if you’re just coal and ash then how can you possibly expect to help anyone else stay lit.


Still at the table but have sat in about 10,000 different leg positions by this point.

LOZ 1: Do you have any really specific memories of play and creativity in your life from when you were a kid?

LOZ 2: I can remember going into the shed seeing all of Mum’s tubs of art supplies and going, “hmm what can I make with this today”. Not consciously being like, “I’m going to create art”. You?

LOZ 1: Literally my entire life was just imaginary worlds out of anything I could find. I often say I feel like I’ve been Polyglotting my whole life. Especially when you don’t really have access to more traditional forms of theatre.

My backyard was filled with junk- I rephrase- ‘treasures’ yes we will call them treasures. I mean you could build an entire house out of everything that is in that yard. I would rummage through it all and then just build worlds with them. Then I would get my cousins, who lived next door and we would play in the paddocks for hours, taking on different characters.

We had this old tinny boat we would pull out to the middle of the paddock and we would pretend that we were sailing to this island on the coast of Yuin Country, but for some reason this imaginary version of the island was where there was mad monkey scientists that lived doing experiments on humans (it was obviously a post Planet of the Apes obsession). This was one of those worlds we would return to regularly.

Do you have any memories of specific worlds you played in when you were younger?

LOZ 2: I loved cooking, specifically Jamie Oliver’s cooking

LOZ 1: OMG YES! Loved Jamie, not so much the chicken nugget episode. But yes, continue…

LOZ 2: …and I would get all the drawing supplies from my Nan’s office and I remember the smell of the crayons and I would tip them all out and divide them into colours and shapes and they would be my “cooking” ingredients. Then I would recreate Jamie’s recipes using the crayon ingredients.

LOZ 1: And you just did this by yourself?

LOZ 2: Yes, but also with my Pop and we would play together and he would be this character called Naughty Billy with his finger up his nose and he wouldn’t pay for his groceries and I would scorn him as he mucked about in the grocery store.

LOZ 1: I think when adults are willing to dive into that world with you as a young person it is just so much more magical.

LOZ 2: He was a very playful grandfather when I was growing up and he still is now, which it’s interesting cause he almost died like a year ago/

LOZ 1: /OMG WHAT my Gma almost died like a year ago too!/

LOZ 2: /bounced back so quickly, well not so quickly but we grieved that man.

LOZ 1: No way? I flew back home/

LOZ 2: Yes me too/

LOZ 1: /To my Gma in palliative care/

LOZ 2: /Whatttt sameee, he was in hospital for 8 weeks.

LOZ 1: That is so wild. What’s with our grandparents bouncing back from the brink.

LOZ 1: She has literally come out of the flames, she’s not even using her walker anymore. Going from being on deaths door to now being maybe the healthiest she has been in years… But speaking of the generations before us who have passed on their creativity. My Gma is a poet and often speaks to me in verse. She has a poem for every occasion that woman.


LOZ 1: Who else do you think there was in your life that has been central to you being able to have play and creativity as a career?

LOZ 2: I had a really cool Drama teacher in high school and she made me feel like if I wanted to do it then I could do it… and then I did ‘Let’s Take Over’ (a program that offers talented young people aged 15-25 the opportunity to forge a creative career as an artist, producer or programmer) and that is where I met Dr Sarah Austin…

LOZ 1: Ah yes, Sarah Austin, she’s had a big hand in stoking both our fires… This is actually where our lives intersected for the first time… even though you didn’t know it.

Loz 1 dives into this really long winded story about how when she first moved to Naarm she saw a billboard on High Street for ‘Let’s Take Over’ and quickly became obsessed with the entire concept and all of the participants, including Loz 2. This long winded story leads to the discovery that we had been following each other on Instagram since 2019.

LOZ 2: If they blak follow back! Haha.


Sprawled across the loungeroom

Loz 1 and Loz 2 continue to map out all the points in which their lives had intersected over the past five years. From a Paper Planet season that Loz 2 was working and Loz 1 was experiencing for the first time as a newly introduced Polyglot fan, to properly working together for the first time this year in a Polyglot and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation collaboration at the Convent’s 20 year anniversary.

LOZ 1: It makes me think about all the- I’m just looking at this wool ball here- all the strings that connect us. Imagine if we could see all those strings and the intersecting webs that connect us.

LOZ 2: And if we go back to idea of, “keep the fire burning”

Who are all the people that came into our lives and helped us to build those webs or stoke the fire, and allowed our webs to connect with others.

LOZ 1: And who are the young people who will look back and say, “Loz really helped me stoke my fire and feel really proud to be myself”.

Loz 1 laughs in deep recognition that she has the nostalgic qualities of a 90 year old.

LOZ 1: And now here we are in your lounge room, eating sweet and salty popcorn and yarning about how creativity and play are part of our lives.


T’was 10pm on a Monday evening, the week before Blak Xmas and they said they would keep this project simple and within a feasible time restriction. Alas, their excitement got the better of them.

LOZ 2: What if I just quickly make these photos into an animation… I can record some clapsticks for a soundscape?

LOZ 1: YES! Haha I love that we were like, “let’s just write a really simple and short blog post” and now I’m here writing a script and you’re making an animation with a soundscape.

CALLIE THE GREYHOUND: Woof woof! WOOOOOF yawn, woof woof woof! (OH NO! Not the clapsticks! *yawns* GO TO BED!)

LOZ 2: Callie shhhh, Mummy needs to record these clapsticks.


T’was the night before Blak Xmas and Loz 1 and Loz 2 were sleeping safe and sound, knowing tomorrow they would wake up burning a little bit more blak, loud and proud.


Header image, featuring the National NAIDOC 2024 poster artwork, ‘Urapun Muy’ by artist Deb Belyea, and logo, courtesy of