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.


Cerita Anak
(Child’s Story)

Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) takes children and their adults on a sea journey never to be forgotten.

A Cerita Anak production photo. Two Polyglot artists wearing blue and red costumes stand at the bow of the boat, joyfully celebrating a special moment. Families sit in the boat behind them. They are surrounded by billowing blue silk cloth, and illuminated with theatre lighting.

A collaboration between Polyglot Theatre and Papermoon Puppet Theatre

Climb aboard and be rocked and rolled across a strange ocean, dive to the bottom of the sea, hear stories on the wind and in the currents of the water and face great danger before coming to safe harbour.

Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) draws its inspiration from the seafaring history in Java and a small boy’s true tale of arrival as a refugee. Combining puppetry, projection, light and sound, the show is an utterly immersive adventure that takes its audience on a real journey in a moving boat. Audience members, both young and old, will be transported by this exquisite encounter.

Polyglot and Papermoon Puppet Theatre (Indonesia) worked with local children from a fishing village north of Java and with children at a school in Melbourne’s west, to conceive and create this adventure.

“It made my bones feel stronger.” Child, aged 2

Logos: Polyglot Theatre with tagline, 'theatre is child's play'; Papermoon Puppet Theatre

This unique work can offer audience engagement from two perspectives:

  • The inner audience is made up of child and adult pairs who enter the boat as passengers and fully participate in the work.
  • The outer audience is made up of other family members, older children and members of the general public. They are seated in traditional theatre seats and watch the work as a piece of theatre.
  • Directors: Sue Giles, Maria Tri Sulistyani
  • Conceived: Sue Giles, Maria Tri Sulistyani, Anna Tregloan, Steph O’Hara, Anton Farji
  • Composer and sound design: Steph O’Hara
  • Set and costume design: Anna Tregloan
  • Lighting design: Richard Vabre
  • Original cast: Pambo Priyojati, Sonya Suares, Emily Tomlins
  • Production managers: Elise Brokensha, Rainbow Sweeny
  • Stage manager: Lyndie Li Wan Po
  • Animator: Wulang Sunu
  • Costume maker: Amanda Carr
  • Set construction: Darryl Cordell, Jim Stenson
  • Puppet makers: Katrina Gaskell, Tamara Rewse
  • Producers: Viv Rosman and Julie Wright – Polyglot Theatre
  • Contributing artists: Iwan Effendi, Anton Fajri, Wulang Sunu and the Papermoon Puppet Theatre team
  • Community collaborators: Dinjerra Primary School, Polyglot’s Inspiring People’s Society (PIPS), ArtPlay, the children of Lasem and Kepek in Java(Indonesia) and TRY Kinder (South Yarra)

After two creative processes in Indonesia, Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) had its final stage of development at ArtPlay in Melbourne in 2016, before its world premiere season at Arts Centre Melbourne in April 2017, as part of the inaugural Asia TOPA. Polyglot and collaborating partner Papermoon Puppet Theatre devised the work, along with children from the villages of Lasem and Kepek, and Dinjerra Primary School in Melbourne.


  • Octoburst, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore
  • Art Space for Kids, Hangzhou and Beijing, China


  • Perth Festival, WA, Australia
  • ARTJOG, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • OzAsia Festival, Adelaide, SA, Australia


  • Premiere: AsiaTOPA Festival, Arts Centre Melbourne, VIC, Australia

The development of Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) was generously supported by the Commonwealth through the Australia-Indonesia Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne through ArtPlay’s New Ideas Lab, Arts Centre Melbourne, Playking Foundation and Creative Partnerships Australia through Plus1.

Logos: Cerita Anak (Child's Story) supporters

Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) was nominated for:

  • 2018 Green Room Award – Work for Young Audiences
  • 2017 Helpmann Award – Best Presentation for Children

Watch the trailer

  • Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) is beautiful, magical, moving and profound – a fine example of an art experience that brings cultures together, explores our humanity and develops empathy for others.

    Greg Elliott, InDaily

  • For adults, this intensely immersive experience creates the emotional resonance of a journey through peril towards hope: but for small children it’s the best playground ever…This is a show that reminds you that a key word in theatre is ‘play’.

    Alison Croggon, WITNESS Performance

  • This beautifully interactive tale, awash with textiles, sound, light and puppetry, is as touching and thought provoking for the grown-ups, as it is inspiring for little minds.

    KidTown Melbourne


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(Child’s Story)?