We Built This City
A wonderland of a construction site that brings whole communities together to think big and build the city shapes of their dreams.
Faced with thousands and thousands of cardboard boxes in a big, open space, children and families follow their impulses and create unique structures inspired by their relationship to their city. Polyglot artists roam the site as the Builders, engaging with kids constructing towering skyscrapers, winding tunnels and sprawling estates.
We Built This City sees children as the experts and adults enthusiastically following their lead. The whole experience is accompanied by a DJ spinning funky music, and at the very end of the season, the city is shaken and stomped to the ground, in a shared moment of glorious destruction.
“It was a joint effort and brought people together like a community should be.” Child
- We Built This City is an energetic, high intensity experience. The performance space contains only empty cardboard boxes.
- Children and families choose how they engage with the artists and the space, moving around as they like.
- A DJ plays music for the duration of the show.
Original Creative Team
- Conceived and directed: Sue Giles
- Design: Darryl Cordell
- Composer and sound design: David Franzke, Enio Pozzebon
- Original cast: Megan Cameron, Sue Giles, Rinske Ginsberg
We Built This City was conceived by Sue Giles in her first year as Polyglot’s Artistic Director. It premiered in 2001 at the City of Melbourne Children’s Week celebrations.
Selected Touring History
- BLEACH* Festival, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
- Melbourne Fringe and Metro Tunnel Creative Program, University Square, VIC, Australia
- EQT Children’s Theatre Festival, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
- Shanghai Interactive Festival of Theatre in Jiading, Shanghai, China
- The Straz Center, Tampa, Florida, USA
- Australia Now Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Midland Center for the Arts, Michigan, USA
- The Unconformity Festival, Queenstown, TAS, Australia
- New York University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- April Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Centenary of Canberra, ACT, Australia
- Tulsa Performing Arts Centre, Oklahoma, USA
- Without Walls Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, California, USA
- Hi Seoul Festival, South Korea
- The Edge, Auckland, New Zealand
- Out of the Box Festival, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
- Theatre Royal, Hobart, TAS, Australia
- Kijimuna Festival, Japan
- Segerstrom Center for the Arts, California, USA
- Taipei Arts Festival, Taiwan
- Pittsburgh Children’s Theatre, USA
- London International Festival of Theatre, United Kingdom
- John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, Washington DC, USA
- Sydney Opera House, NSW, Australia
- Midsumma Arts Festival, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
- Brisbane Powerhouse, QLD, Australia
- Melbourne International Arts Festival, VIC, Australia
- Awesome Arts Festival, Perth, WA, Australia
- Act3 Kidsfest, Singapore
- Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore
- Premiere: Melbourne City Square, VIC, Australia
Watch the trailer
View the gallery
It is what it sounds like, a pile of cardboard boxes, it’s not more complicated than that… But it is the most extraordinary experience.
Simon Abrahams, Melbourne Fringe Creative Director
The children were having so much fun. I never knew that there is such a way that children can enjoy themselves. It was great to see them smiling.
Jin Sato, Mayor of Minami Sanriku, Japan
Got a question about We Built This City?
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