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.



Bees is a joyful interactive work in which children are welcomed into a world of community, communication, wonder and imagination.

An outdoor Bees production photo. A Polyglot artist in an intricate black and yellow bee costume crouches on a green lawn. A small child, holding their parent's arm, looks at them intently. Other families are visible in the background, and the grassy area is surrounded by trees. Photographer: Theresa Harrison

Explore a buzzing, humming hive of activity, as three human-sized Bees busy themselves in the creation of a community alongside children who transform into bees as they play. The bees are fascinating, strange and beautiful, traversing invisible pathways and mapping delicate patterns across the performance space.

Inspired by the mysterious life and work of bees, this re-imagining of public space involves the slow uncovering of an intricate unseen world. Children are immersed in the sounds, shapes and scents of the bee world, from their familiar buzz to honeycomb houses. Bees uses ritual, non-verbal communication and the secret world of bee movement to provide a range of access points for children to participate.

“Wonderful. The kids were so engaged. Joyful.” Parent

  • Bees is a universally accessible experience. The performers do not use spoken language – there is no English language barrier. 
  • Children and families choose how they engage with the performers and the space, moving around as they like. Some participants may prefer a gentle experience, others may be more energetic.
  • Bees contains amplified sound and music that is played through portable speakers.
  • A general visual story is available to view/download here.
  • Director: Emily Tomlins
  • Sound design: Steph O’Hara
  • Sound development: Lachlan MacLeod
  • Set design: Morwenna Schenck
  • Costume design: Nick Barlow
  • Costume design mentor: Laurel Frank
  • Original cast: Tirese Ballard, Nick Barlow, Lachlan MacLeod, Afsaneh Torabi
  • Producer: Rainbow Sweeny

Bees premiered in 2022 at Abbotsford Convent.


  • Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, VIC, Australia
  • EarthFest, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA
  • Beckman Arts & Science Family Festival, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa, California, USA


  • Children’s Week Picnic, Wyndham City, VIC, Australia
  • Horizon Festival, Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia
  • Big Umbrella Day, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, USA
  • International Festival of Arts & Ideas, New Haven Green, Connecticut, USA
  • Lynn Wyatt Square , Houston, Texas, USA
  • SPARK Stages Family Weekend, Surrey Civic Theatres, Canada
  • JUNIOR Festival, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Canada
  • Cairns Children’s Festival, QLD, Australia
  • Moomba Festival, ArtPlay, Melbourne, VIC, Australia


  • Charlotte International Arts Festival, North Carolina, USA
  • BorderLight Festival, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  • Des Moines Performing Arts, Iowa, USA
  • Bayside City Council Autumn Fest, Elsternwick Park, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  • King George V Gardens, Rural City of Wangaratta, VIC, Australia
  • Premiere: Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Bees was developed through The Generator, with support from the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, and the Sidney Myer Fund.

Logos: Creative Victoria, Sidney Myer Fund

Bees was assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body.


Logo: Creative Australia

Watch the trailer

  • "What a beautiful few days! Thanks so much to your incredible team for your energy, professionalism and excellent skills in making this event as successful as it could possibly be... It really was an exceptional show."

    Molly Braddon, Producer, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, 2024


Got a question about Bees?