Show

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.

A We Built This City production photo. A child with dark curly hair, wearing a red shirt, leaps into the air, smiling. They are surrounded by hundreds of cardboard boxes piled high.

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.

We Built This City premiered in 2001 at the City of Melbourne Children’s Week celebrations.

Watch the trailer

  • 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

Contact

Got a question about We Built This City?

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.