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.

21 Aug 2018

Land ho, after fun journey to the deep

A Cerita Anak production photo. A makeshift boat holds children and performers. They are looking into an ocean constructed from billowing silk cloths. A performer flings a fishing rod with a paper attached to it into the ocean. They are illuminated by soft down-cast lighting.

REVIEW – Cerita Anak (Child’s Story), The West Australian, 24 February 2018

Written by Simon and Rosanna Collins

The sea was angry that day, my friends. Our little fishing boat was tossed on the churning Java Sea, we were thrown to the bottom of the ocean – where we discovered some weird and wonderful sea creatures – but managed to find a safe harbor.

All in a one-hour tour (a one-hour tour).

Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) is the inspiring creation of Melbourne’s Polyglot Theatre and Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre, who developed the charming production with children from a fishing village in Indonesia.

The show, aimed at kids aged two to seven (and their parents), combines puppetry, shadow images, projections, sound and good old-fashioned craft. Oh and the audience, who should pack their imagination and childlike wonder.

After taking our shoes off in a crowded room with the other mums, dads and kids, we drew some fish and other aquatic creatures which were then (carefully) cut out and placed in a cane basket.

Then we entered the main theatre, where our boat sat.

We launched and soon found a good spot to fish. Rosanna, three, caught a big, weird-looking fish and a couple of crabs. Thunder! Lightning!

The rods were quickly packed away as the sea – a billowing blue silk – began to rise. We hung on tight only for the salty water to envelop our boat.

Down we went, down, down…past the jellyfish and the giant stingray. In the darkness, we discovered all manner of deep-sea monsters (and got to project a few of our own on to the sheets surrounding the ‘boat’).

We resurfaced in a harbor surrounded by little paper boats, and what’s that?

Land ho!

Brave Rosie did not even wait for our crew to build the bridge to get her feet back on dry land.

And she was glad to see the other boats had also survived the storm. Some parents shed tears of sweet relief.

Well, not relief, more a sudden emotional overflow thanks to the sheer beauty, and interactive fun, of this simple yet superbly executed production.

Sea for yourself.

Cerita Anak is on until tomorrow. Details at

Photography: Toni Wilkinson

  • Polyglot Theatre Admin
    State Theatre Centre, Perth