10 Feb 2020 E-News

Polyglot’s Jan/Feb e-news

A Light Pickers creative development photo. A small child stands in a darkened space, next to a pile of colourful, abstract glowing objects. They hold a glowing object close to their face, looking at it intently.

“We are all making work for and with children and young people, and our work needs to reflect the age that we are living in.”

It’s been a very tough summer in Australia, with communities around the country affected by the horrific bushfires. All of us at Polyglot are thinking of everyone who has lost loved ones, homes and businesses. We offer our gratitude to all of the extraordinary emergency responders and not-for-profit and community organisations who are working tirelessly to provide assistance and support. If you would like to help frontline services, this article from the ABC outlines how best to do so.

In January, our Artistic Director Sue Giles AM and Producer Rainbow Sweeny flew to Philadelphia to represent Polyglot at the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) Showcase. Sue reflected on the fruitful week – read this below.

March is busy for the Polyglot team, with three fabulous projects coming up in Melbourne. Our 2019 sell-out performance Light Pickers returns for a season at ArtPlay for Moomba Festival. Free sessions for 0-5 year olds and their adults will take place across 7-9 March.

Following Light Pickers, we’re inviting children and families to come and play as we begin to develop a new theatre work for children with complex disabilities. These workshops at ArtPlay are aimed at children with disability and their siblings and adults who are looking for an experience that will involve them as participants.

In the April school holidays, Boats will skim into harbour at Cranbourne Gardens! All ages are invited to bring their imagination – and their feet – and come along for an adventure on the high seas. Sail away with us from 1-4 April. The school holidays will also see our Ants make their way to Queensland for the World Science Festival Brisbane. You’ll find them – and their crumbs – at Queensland Museum from 27-29 March.

School has started for the year but there’s still lots of fun for kids and families to be had in Melbourne! We’ve put together our top picks – read this below.

Our Education News launched into 2020 with an article by Polyglot artist Lachlan MacLeod about the impact of Voice Lab in educational contexts.

We have loads more exciting things in the pipeline for 2020, and we’re looking forward to sharing these with you in the coming months. Stay tuned, and keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for all the updates!

Polyglot Theatre at IPAY

In January, our Artistic Director Sue Giles AM and Producer Rainbow Sweeny flew to Philadelphia to represent Polyglot at the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) Showcase. Sue reflected on the week:

For the Australian delegation, there was a cloud over the 2020 IPAY Showcase. The fires were at the top of everyone’s mind and we were all asked the question and met with deep sympathy and care when we each told our own reaction and perspective on the situation back home. It is such a huge topic that it couldn’t help but colour our conversations. Similarly, the Chilean delegation arrived with terrible images and situations around them in the aftermath of the riots and protests. Our UK friends were wrestling with Boris and Brexit, and the USA mob with Trump and the failing impeachment. The Chinese delegates were deeply aware of the virus outbreak and the closure of cities, and the world was very, very close for everyone in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever felt before.  

All of our meetings had a certain element of reflecting responsibility about them – at least I felt this to be so. We are all making work for and with children and young people, and our work needs to reflect the age that we are living in. A meeting with the Lincoln Center’s team about their Big Umbrella festival continued this thinking. How to create inclusive practice and awareness – how this form works for everyone, working to find new forms that reach more people, drawing those without access to the arts closer and working with empathy and imagination.

The opening speeches of IPAY were interesting because each of the speakers – the CEO, the General Manager and the Chair – all spoke personally about who they were and what they do. A reminder and a framework for the market to recognise the people in every conversation – who they are, where do they come from, what is their world.  A reminder that although this is a transactional model, the personal and contextual needs to be considered. Connection and relationship are the most important things that can happen.

The schedule was full – from 8.00am to late, late, late with spotlights, presentations, shows and discussions, networking and conversations, first meetings and old friends’ catch ups in the over-crowded little hotel bar. It’s intense, frantic sometimes, flitting from one person to the next, grabbing the chance to talk as you walk, sitting next to someone for a hurried conversation before the lights go down.

It is wonderful to see the work that people do. More and more I’m aware of the importance of the context within which we make our work – why we make it the way it is – our influences, our funding or lack thereof, our education systems, our child/parent relationships, our approach to childhood, our local markets – who buys what and why. At IPAY there are now two Cultural Spotlights during the week that give an hour to a particular country to present their situation and showcase the breadth of work that is ready for market. It’s a vital chance to set the scene for work and culture; a way of explaining quickly what is at stake for companies and artists and where the vitality of the sector lies.

Philadelphia is a great town to have this gathering. It’s small enough to walk everywhere and it’s very impressive to see so many theatre spaces in one street – “the Avenue of the Arts”. It’s also a city that has visible poverty in a way that is alarming; so many homeless on the street in the bitter cold. The gaps between rich and poor is widening everywhere and it is very apparent here. Walking to our shows, we were all aware of the ‘lack’ that many people experience.

The showcases were interesting, with a focus on circus and dance this year opening the way for some companies and artists that have not had a chance before. It was also interesting to see the impact that these largely non-verbal forms had on audiences.

Our Australian delegation was, as usual, friendly and supportive. It is an excellent opportunity to talk and share information and experiences in a way that we never can when we’re each in our own cities and immersed in our own work. We’ve made a pact to share our work more when we tour nationally and invite our peers to events when we’re performing in other places.

Fun for kids in Melbourne

The summer holiday is over, but the fun doesn’t have to stop! Check out the below adventures, outings and activities for kids and families in Melbourne.

Abbotsford Convent – Convent Kids and ButohOUT! presents: Peek-A-Butoh Parade.

ArtPlay: “ArtPlay is a place where children – from babies to 12 year olds – can explore their creativity and share unique artistic experiences with professional artists.” 

Arts Centre Melbourne: “Arts Centre Melbourne is a place where children of all ages can be filled with a sense of fun and wonder!”

Circus Oz – circus classes for kids and teens: “Circus classes are a fun and healthy way for kids of all ages to get super active and stay fit, make loads of new friends, AND learn incredible skills.” 

City of Melbourne – the most extensive list of 2020 kids’ activities taking place in the City of Melbourne.

City of Melbourne Libraries – children’s programs: “From sessions for babies and toddlers, to storytimes for preschoolers, school holiday programs, homework and after school clubs, there’s plenty for children of all ages at City of Melbourne Libraries.” 

Collingwood Children’s Farm: “Established in 1979 the Collingwood Children’s Farm is a not-for-profit community resource providing country experiences for city people.”

Footscray Community Arts Centre – workshops for kids and young people: “Discover a range of term based workshops from animation to circus, hip hop to street art and learn from a range of professional artist tutors.”

Melbourne Museum: “The Listies present their totally serious and not at all silly 100% fact-filled guide to Melbourne Museum.” 

NGV Kids: “The National Gallery of Victoria is a place for everyone and warmly welcomes children, teenagers and families.”

St Martins Youth Arts Centre: “Our creative, inclusive and award winning workshops are where young artists thrive.” 

Polyglot’s Education News

Our Education Newsletter is a growing resource that promotes the value of arts experiences in education. Since December 2018 we have commissioned feature articles from Polyglot associates who have shed fascinating perspectives on Polyglot’s philosophy and practice. You can find these on our Education Resources page. If you would like to subscribe to our Education News, please email communications@polyglot.org.au.

Our January 2020 article – ‘The impact of Voice Lab in educational contexts’ – was written by core artist Lachlan MacLeod.

“As an evaluative tool, Voice Lab’s benefit was always clear. Through its unique elements of time, attention, space and design, we are able to garner meaningful opinions and unfiltered feedback on any number of subjects. In an educational context this allows us to see what is and isn’t working for individual students, to gauge their interest in a process or project at various points in time, and to identify problems or strengths that educators may not have known about prior to Voice Lab’s sessions.”

Read the full article here.

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.