Polyglot Theatre is thrilled to announce the appointment of respected director and creative play expert Cat Sewell as Artistic Director & co-CEO, following an extensive international search for the company’s next creative leader.
Board Chair Sarah Hunt says, “Cat will be an exemplary leader for the next phase of Polyglot’s life; creative, deeply connected to Polyglot’s child-centred vision and collaborative way of working, and an empathetic and astute leader. Cat’s track record of developing and delivering exciting play-based arts, health and education projects, and commitment to sector development will ensure Polyglot continues to be an international leader of theatre for young people.”
Cat brings extensive experience in participatory theatre, working as a director, play specialist, facilitator and educator, and as co-creative director of The Ball Room Projects, an independent theatre company that specialises in interactive performance and installations for children and families. Cat has led award-winning projects in a range of contexts including health and child development, community collaboration, public design, education, and local government. These include her work with City of Darebin to create play maps which won a Victorian Early Years Award, and her collaboration with the Raising Children Network supported by the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Cat’s experience perfectly positions her to lead an expansion of Polyglot’s areas of creative exploration, multi-sector partnerships and building diverse audiences, nationally and internationally.
“What an honour it is to be welcomed into this beautiful company,” Cat says. “I am so excited to work alongside the extraordinarily talented artists and facilitators, company members and passionate Board and leadership team to lead and dream into Polyglot’s future. It is more important than ever for children and families to experience and explore the creative wonder of play in the arts. I will step with care, consideration (and some jumps for joy) in the footprints that Sue Giles has laid; a mentor and inspiration to me and so many others.”
Cat builds on the extensive achievements of outgoing Artistic Director Sue Giles AM, who pioneered new forms of immersive theatre for children that led the company to international acclaim during her 22-year tenure. Sue announced her intention to step down to focus on her role as President of ASSITEJ International, the association of theatre and performance for children and young people, in July, and will finish with the company in December.
Sue says, “Polyglot’s next evolution is in great hands with Cat Sewell, who is a colleague and leader in the young audiences’ arts sector; deeply immersed in research, in how sectors intersect, and in making works that stretch what we know about participation and play. I know that Cat, working alongside the wonderful Kath Fyffe, will take the company into new territory, new partnerships and new depth. Cat is a connector and a collaborative maker and I know that Polyglot’s people will thrive with this new energy and vision.”
The future is bright for Polyglot. Cat will lead Polyglot’s evolution alongside co-CEO and Executive Director Kath Fyffe, continuing the culture of care for Polyglot’s people that enables the company to deliver an ambitious annual program. Next year the company will embark on a welcome return to international touring, furthering its reputation for world class theatre for children and families, and share innovative new works created during the pandemic years to audiences far and wide.
Executive Director Kath Fyffe adds:“This evolution of Polyglot creates exciting opportunities to embrace the change taking place across our sector, and around the world as the creative and wellbeing needs of children and young people coming out of the pandemic become clear. I’m overjoyed to be working with someone of Cat’s reputation and commitment to child-centred work. I acknowledge the extraordinary contribution Sue has made to the company, it’s audiences, artists and staff over the years, and am grateful to enter this next phase holding that depth of knowledge and expertise close.”
Cat will commence as Polyglot’s Artistic Director & co-CEO in January 2023.
For more information or media enquiries, please contact Polyglot Theatre on 03 9826 3301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.