Polyglot’s March/April e-news: donate $40 to celebrate 40 years!

Since our last e-news at the end of January, Polyglot has not stopped! Of course the most exciting news is that in this momentous 40th Birthday year… we are MOVING. We’re packing up and shipping ourselves across town to the incredible Abbotsford Convent. Polyglot is taking up a purpose-designed tenancy in the beautifully restored Sacred Heart building, surrounded by diverse, creative, inspiring friends. In addition, an exciting new partnership with Abbotsford Convent will see us performing, creating and testing new work with children and families as part of the Convent Kids program every year.

In order to move, and to continue growing as Australia’s leading creator of interactive and participatory theatre for children and families, we must hit the $50,000 target for our 40th Birthday Appeal by 15 May. If we do this, the $50,000 will be DOUBLED by Creative Partnerships Australia’s Plus1 matched funding. If you have been planning to give, now is the time. All donations over $2 are tax deductible, and every single dollar counts.

You can support our appeal by:

  • Contributing a special birthday gift – how about $40 for 40 years? Donate here
  • Forwarding this email on to your friends and family who may be interested in finding out more and giving
  • Liking and sharing our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn posts – particularly our $40 for 40 years video

To celebrate our 40th Birthday and our new home, together with Abbotsford Convent we are presenting our world-renowned installation Tangle in the Sacred Heart Courtyard on 13-14 April. There has been extraordinary interest and we’re very excited to see all the Melbourne families who are planning to come along. As excitement builds, we’re delighted to share our Artistic Director Sue Giles’ reflections on Tangle and its place in the modern world. Read her words here.

February blasted off with the launch of Sue’s Platform Paper – Young People and the Arts: An agenda for change. The Theatre Network Australia and Currency House event sold out, was moved to a bigger venue and then sold out again! Guests were treated to a keynote address from Sue, industry updates from young firecrackers, and then an industry panel discussion. In the weeks following the event, Currency House announced that the Platform Paper itself sold out and is being reprinted. A brilliant result for Sue!

Representing Polyglot’s Inspiring People Society (PIPS) at the launch were Min and Louka, aged 15 and 16. They have been part of PIPS since 2013 and we’re delighted to share their presentation in this e-news – you can read it here.

Our friends Ria and Pambo from Papermoon Puppet Theatre (Indonesia) also arrived in February ahead of our Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) season at Perth International Arts Festival. Together we celebrated the beginning of rehearsals with a traditional selametan featuring nasi tumpeng, before the touring company jetted to Perth for seven sold-out shows. 

We were thrilled to discover the day before our first show that Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) had been nominated for a Green Room Award! The awards ceremony takes place on 9 April – good luck to all the nominees!

Alison Croggon of Witness Performance reviewed Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) at Perth Festival. She wrote, “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… The playfulness and curiosity of the kids was palpable and irresistible.” Read the full review here.

Following our season in Perth, artists Mischa Long and Stefanie Robinson presented a workshop at the Asia TYA Festival in Japan 2018 titled The Space Talks To Me – creating sensory environments for neuro-diverse children. The company then travelled to Minamisanriku, and in collaboration with Japanese company Acchi Cocchi, presented public performances and workshops of Paper Planet. This was Polyglot’s fourth tour to the region, which was devastated by the 2011 tsunami. Rosemary Neill, a journalist from The Australian, joined us on tour. You can read her feature here. We will be sharing our own feature in our next e-news – stay tuned!

In early March, First On The Ladder joined Shepparton Festival to present a bespoke project – The Rumba Scavenger Hunt. Running across two days, festival-goers of all ages joined Polyglot Theatre and the legends of Shepp’s Rumbalara Football Netball Club in this fun and free family event. First On The Ladder Project Producer Simone Ruggiero wrapped up the event – read it here.

The next few months will be extremely busy for Polyglot as we prepare to present two massive days of Tangle with Abbotsford Convent, continue fundraising for our 40th Birthday Appeal and of course move to our new home! We look forward to sharing exciting updates with you along the way.

“Tangle is the perfect way to celebrate the joyful, complex, child-centred world that is Polyglot”

In 2018, not only does Polyglot Theatre turn 40, but we’re moving! After spending 38 of our 40 years in South Yarra, we’re packing up and shipping ourselves across town to the incredible Abbotsford Convent. Polyglot is taking up a purpose-designed tenancy in the beautifully restored Sacred Heart building, surrounded by diverse, creative, inspiring friends. In addition, an exciting new partnership with Abbotsford Convent will see us performing, creating and testing new work with children and families as part of the Convent Kids program every year.

To celebrate our 40th Birthday and our new home, we’re inviting all of our friends to a special, free presentation of Tangle at Abbotsford Convent on 13-14 April. As excitement builds, we’re delighted to share our Artistic Director Sue Giles’ reflections on Tangle and its place in the modern world.

Tangle is an enormous pegboard of slender golden poles where children weave an impossibly complex web from coloured elastic, creating a spectacular piece of public art and a live and growing playground of tangly adventure. A world is created that holds strange and comic characters, live music and endless fun. Tangle is a work that sums up the notion of individual pathways connecting through community action to create spectacular public art.

We’ve taken Tangle all around the world – to the United Kingdom, to the United States of America, to the United Arab Emirates, to Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand and to most capital cities in Australia. The first time we did it was for Moomba Festival in Melbourne in the wonderful ArtPlay space for over 3000 people across two days.

There are no instructions with Tangle – the child is given a ball of elastic and encouraged to tie one end around one of the 24 poles and then the winding begins. Once that ball is finished, the child begins to play. Entering the work through a task is one of the biggest discoveries Polyglot has made in the development of new work. When participants are given something to do that they understand, the ensuing chaos, wonder, play and drama, complexity and physical involvement is easy to engage with.

Tangle has been metaphorically likened to the internet – the single strands of information connecting and re-connecting and changing with their connections and forming a giant web. It has been likened to society – single pathways of individual choice connecting with others, changing direction because of this, often unaware of how the pathway has shifted. It is a wonderful example of collaboration – where the intention of the individual must allow for the contributions of others to make a spectacular result.

For children, it is a chance to play hard – to get physically involved and because of the task, remain unaware of how much their bodies are moving. It is hilarious and impossible – once the tangle is thick, moving through it takes enormous effort and getting tangled up never loses its charm. Tangle offers the child a place where they can disappear, where they have the advantage over adults because of their size and their ability to delight in chaos. Adults love lying in the work and seeing children drop from hidden heights, crawl past them unseeing and shriek with laughter as they are tangled yet again.

Our world now offers fewer chances to take risks and children are certainly over-watched in play and in public spaces. Tangle is one of Polyglot’s many works that shake up what people think children can do, and by offering the unexpected, allow adults to see young people’s capability in action.

Tangle is the perfect way to celebrate the joyful, complex, child-centred world that is Polyglot. The work engages all the senses, welcomes children as creators, delights families in free play in a spectacular fashion and is the epitome of “art by stealth”. Tangle sneaks in an arts experience when you thought you were just having fun. At the end of a day of Tangle, the spectacle is beautiful, awesome, colourful and moving and is utterly made by the children.”

To help us move to our new home at Abbotsford Convent, please consider donating to our 40th Birthday Appeal. Every dollar raised up to $50,000 by 15 May will be DOUBLED thanks to Creative Partnerships Australia’s Plus1 matched funding. All donations over $2 are tax deductible, and every single contribution, no matter the size, is a big step towards Polyglot’s future. Please give today, and see our next 40 years shine.

Give now at polyglottheatre.secure.force.com.

“We think that getting young people’s ideas is such a great thing to do!”

In early February, Sue Giles’ Platform Paper Young People and the Arts: An agenda for change was launched at a Theatre Network Australia and Currency House event. Held at Malthouse Theatre, the launch event sold out. Sue Giles presented the keynote address, followed by industry updates from young people in the arts, and then a panel discussion.

Min and Louka, aged 15 and 16, represented Polyglot’s Inspiring People Society (PIPS). Their presentation was very well-received, and we are delighted to share it with our e-news readers.

“Polyglot gathers ideas from young people who are aged between 5 and 16 through PIPS. The big age gap gives Polyglot a diverse range of opinions. Due to [the participants] ages they give a different perspective of their experiences and this helps Polyglot adapt the ideas and create a performance that is more enjoyable to all ages that watch or interact.

Polyglot lets us have a voice in what they should show. They don’t let adults override young people’s voices. It’s really good that Polyglot has a society where young people get to say what they think. Sometimes we feel that adults think that they know what young people want to see in shows which we think is sometimes untrue.

Due to this, we think that Polyglot having PIPS is such an amazing idea and really inspiring for other companies in the arts industry. This way people working on the performances actually make shows that are worth making because they interest the targeted age group.

PIPS is all about letting your mind be free and to be creative. Through all my experiences at PIPS, I find that I use a different part of my brain which I don’t use much while being at school. The part which lets my mind to be free and do what it wants to do.

Another reason why PIPS is such a great place to be is that there is no right or wrong answer. This also helps with letting our mind wander.

Another thing that makes Polyglot amazing is that through the PIPS program we interact with Polyglot and give them our full opinion and what we make of the task that is set before us.

We think that getting young people’s ideas is such a great thing to do!”

The Rumba Scavenger Hunt in Shepparton – excellent fun for everyone!

It was an extraordinary weekend in Shepparton, Victoria as Polyglot Theatre and Rumbalara Football Netball Club took over the CBD with The Rumba Scavenger Hunt as part of Shepparton Festival 2018.

150 participants in 35 teams took on the Scavenger Hunt challenge, with children and families teaming up to find hidden artworks and activations around town. Melbourne illustrator, Bernard Caleo, created a number of artworks of Rumba legends that were exhibited down alleyways, in shop windows and on buildings. Along with finding artworks, participants were invited to complete a number of tasks as part of the adventure including climbing to the top of the observation tower, attempting to bowl a strike at Star Bowl and having a go at the skill tester in Fun Zone to grab a toy of Adam Briggs.

Participants also collected 12 Yorta Yorta words as part of the Scavenger Hunt. The words embodied the values of Rumbalara Football Netball Club and included Yakapna (loyalty), Galnya Yakurrumdja (respect), and Balagamdail (determination). It was a great way for the Shepparton community to learn more about, and engage with, the Rumbalara Football Netball Club and Yorta Yorta language.

Rumba Radio was in full swing in Maude Street Mall with the kids spinning tunes and announcing Scavenger Hunt updates. There was even some karaoke from the little ones! It was all streamed live via spreaker.com and 88.8FM.

The post-scavenger hunt party saw an awards presentation and banner run-through. Congratulations to ‘The Deadlys’ for winning the best Scavenger Hunt time of 25 minutes!

Thank you to the local businesses who came on board to provide space for the artworks: Footy Korner, Intersports, Kaiela Arts, Fruitworks, Star Bowl, Care Car Park, Fun Zone, Harris Scarfe, Shepparton Justice Service Centre, Trick Boutique and the Observation Tower.

Thank you to the wonderful volunteers from the Academy of Sport, Health and Education who generously contributed their time to help assist and direct participants on the Scavenger Hunt path, and a special thank you to Rumbalara Football Netball Club for joining Polyglot Theatre on this amazing journey.

Polyglot Theatre will be back in Shepparton for round one of the Murray Football and Netball League, to continue our engagement with the First On The Ladder project. Go Rumba!

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