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.

6 Oct 2023 E-News

Polyglot’s October e-news

A Paper Planet production photo. Children and families are gathered closely. They are in a darkened space, illuminated with deep blue theatrical 'nighttime' light. A child reaches up to touch the moon, which illuminates them and the Polyglot artist next to them. Photo: Katje Ford, courtesy of Sydney Opera House

“You have created something wonderful”

This weekend, the sun (and moon!) will set on Paper Planet at Sydney Opera House. We are brimming with joy to have been part of the iconic 50th birthday celebrations, welcoming thousands of children and families into our magical forest. As a recent performance came to an end, and the moon rose above the audience, a child called out, “It’s just so beautiful!”

We couldn’t agree more.

A Paper Planet production photo. A child carefully places a paper creature in a cardboard tree. Other children and families create and play in the background. They are in a darkened space, illuminated with theatrical lighting. Photo: Katje Ford, courtesy of Sydney Opera House
A Paper Planet production photo. A Polyglot artist in a handmade brown paper costume engages with three small children who all reach towards them. An adult in the distance looks on. They are indoors among a forest of tall cardboard trees, illuminated with bright theatrical lighting. Other children and families create and play in the space. Photo: Katje Ford, courtesy of Sydney Opera House

Paper Planet. Photos (including header image): Katje Ford, courtesy of Sydney Opera House

Kempsey, Kensington, West Kowloon

Totems is our Kids Collaboration led by two Polyglot artists: First Nations writer Blayne Welsh, a Wailwan man, and designer and puppet-maker Tamara Rewse. Since 2022, we have worked in partnership with the Kinchela Boys Home in Kempsey NSW, and local Kempsey schools, to develop and pilot the project. This culminated in September with a joyous student-led performance and celebration of community. From 2024, this First Nations-led interactive experience will transfer to new communities in regional and remote areas.“It brings you into your culture and helps you to be creative.” Student, Totems.

A Totems production photo. A group of students hold up an enormous handmade paper creature. They are outdoors, among trees. Gathered family and friends look on. Photographer: Alicia Fox
A Totems production photo. Two Polyglot artists and a group of students, some of whom wear handmade paper costumes, are gathered outdoors among trees. They sit and stand together, talking. Photographer: Alicia Fox

Totems. Photos: Alicia Fox

Us. Here. Now. is our newest Kids Collaboration in partnership with The Venny, a free communal backyard and adventure playground for public housing. Polyglot artists have been attending play sessions, building connections with the community and the staff, and our dedicated workshops with children and families begin later this month. Together we will make a new public performance experience with the creativity of the young people of Kensington, Flemington and North Melbourne at the very heart.

Polyglot is working in partnership with West Kowloon Cultural District to create a new, bilingual version of Pram People in English and Cantonese, premiering in 2024. A creative development team is currently in Hong Kong, creating and playing with families and schools. “The children were very enthusiastic… they created some spectacular pram decorations with features that included propellers, rocket launchers, rubbish disposal and built-in radio. The parents were very generous with their stories and sharing their experiences. They spoke openly about the challenges of raising children, the difficulty of getting around Hong Kong with a small child and the pride they feel as parents. It was an emotional session.” Artist workshop report.

A photo of the Polyglot creative team (four people) in Hong Kong on a sunny day. They are on a green lawn next to a bay, with the city skyline and mountains in the background.
A photo of the families who participated in a Pram People development workshop in Hong Kong. They are smiling at the camera, alongside prams decorated with brightly coloured tissue paper and masking tape.

Polyglot in Hong Kong.

“Includes all people”

“In a world that has so many rules and expectations, it is so special to have something created that encourages exploration, includes all people and celebrates differences. It was such a fun experience. We will all remember it, you have created something wonderful.” Parent, When the World Turns

When the World Turns, our collaboration with Oily Cart (UK), and commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne for Alter State, recently enjoyed its second Melbourne season. Presented by Bunjil Place, it was a privilege to connect with more than 180 people across four days of performances. Our wonderful friends at ecoDynamics generously provided thousands of plants and horticultural expertise so that we could transform the Studio into a wondrous, rustling, living landscape.

Currently, Oily Cart is deep in development and rehearsal for the UK premiere season.

A photo of the When the World Turns team in the performance space, smiling at the camera. They are surrounded by plants in tubs and stands, branches suspended from the ceiling, and large pieces of wrinkled brown paper, illuminated by bright theatrical lighting.
A behind-the-scenes bump-in photo of When the World Turns at Bunjil Place. Circles of plants in various stands, arranged around small tables and chairs, are set in a large, darkened space, illuminated by bright theatrical lighting. Large tree branches are suspended from the ceiling.

When the World Turns, Bunjil Place.

“Delving into the why and how

In August, Artistic Director Cat Sewell and Generator artist Tirese Ballard facilitated a professional development workshop with Starlight Children’s Foundation Australia in Sydney. Cat writes, “It was fantastic to be invited to share Polyglot’s practice with Captain Starlight coaches from across Australia. We spent a wonderful afternoon exploring child-centred practice through play and creativity, delving into the why and how. We looked at finding ways to give children agency and power, which is so important in the hospital settings they work in. We look forward to returning later in the year.”

Future buzz

Bees continues to zoom and whirr around the world. We’ve shared eight seasons already this year, most recently at Horizon Festival on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, and at the opening of Lynn Wyatt Square in Houston, Texas (in partnership with Inlet Dance Theatre). Bees will also be part of the Wyndham City Children’s Week Picnic on Sunday 22 October.

In August, Kath Fyffe, our Executive Director, attended the Australian Performing Arts Exchange (APAX) in Cairns, and in September, Cat Sewell attended the Australian Performing Arts Forum (APAF) in Brisbane. These were valuable opportunities to connect with presenting partners and industry peers from across the country, share updates about our work, and plan future touring. As Polyglot’s evolution continues, 2024 and 2025 are already filled with fun. 

Thank you

Totems is assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body, and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation.

Logos: Creative Australia; Malcolm Robertson Foundation.

Us. Here. Now. is supported by the City of Melbourne through the Arts and Creative Investment Partnership fund.

Logo: City of Melbourne

The development of Pram People (Hong Kong Edition) is assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body.

Logo: Creative Australia

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.

Logos: When the World Turns funders

Polyglot Theatre thanks ecoDynamics for supporting When the World Turns.

Logo: ecoDynamics