Polyglot Theatre’s Artistic Overview

2021/2022 Tour Dates

Nov 29-Dec 10, 2021
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Paper and Tape Escape
Sat & Sun,
Dec 4 & 5
Melbourne Fringe
We Built This City
Southbank, Melbourne (AUS)

Please check back soon for newly announced tour dates!

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“For small children it’s the best playground ever… The playfulness and curiosity of the kids was palpable and irresistible.”

–Alison Croggon, Witness Performance (AUS), on Cerita Anak (Child’s Story)
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“It is a gentle, fun and brilliantly executed artwork. Fantastic to watch or participate, Tangle is a masterpiece in art making for young people.”

–Vernon Guest, Sydney Festival (AUS), on Tangle

“The veteran children’s troupe are masters of interactive play.”

–Paola Totaro, The Age, UK
full article


We Built This City is one of the happiest projects you will ever experience in your entire life.

This giant cardboard construction site involves whole communities in building the cities and towns of their dreams. Faced with thousands of cardboard boxes in big, open spaces, children and their families work together to create unique structures, inspired by their own familiar landscapes.

Polyglot artists roam the site, entertaining and engaging with kids building skyscrapers, tunnels and sprawling estates. Kids become building experts and adults enthusiastically follow their lead. The whole experience is accompanied by a funky soundtrack, and at the very end of the season, the city is shaken and stomped to the ground.

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Bees is a new work from Polyglot that offers a fun and intriguing participatory experience for children and families.

It explores a buzzing, humming hive of activity, as three human-sized bees busy themselves in the creation of a community alongside children who transform into bees as they play. The bees are fascinating, strange and beautiful, traversing invisible pathways and mapping delicate patterns across the performance space.

Inspired by the mysterious life and work of bees, this re-imagining of urban space involves the slow uncovering of an intricate unseen world. Bees uses ritual, non-verbal communication and the secret world of bee movement to provide a range of access points for children to participate. The design of the work is universally accessible, and participation based on physical patternmaking seamlessly weaves physical distancing into the performance.

Bees is designed to be presented in a range of spaces and contexts, including outdoor festivals, parks and open courtyards, indoor theatre and museum foyers, and galleries.

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Tangle is a giant weaving event that uses coloured elastic to create a vibrant, live interactive artwork made by children and their families.

An elastic ball is given to each participant to weave around golden poles. Before long, the children create a dense, multi-coloured landscape to play, explore and bounce in. Featuring live music, Tangle is an event where children take the lead, building and contributing to an amazing and enchanting public artwork that everyone can enjoy.

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Ants is an interactive performance which has giant Ants bringing children together in a gentle and intriguing landscaping project.

Faced with hundreds of giant breadcrumbs and three big insects, children are irresistibly drawn in to discover what the Ants want them to do. Gradually a world of meaning unfolds, illustrating the human desire for order by transforming any public space with wavering lines and patterns, crossing adult lines and disrupting the everyday.

Ants is an enchanting investigation into the nature of work and children’s relationship with their environment.

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Paper Planet is a spectacular forest of tall cardboard trees that invites children and their adults to populate the world with fantastic paper creations.

Children’s imaginations go wild in a world made of paper. Towering cardboard trees are the starting point and from there, only paper, tape and nimble fingers are used to create a new planet. After exploring the space, families make creatures, vines and flowers, costumes and impossible constructions, populating the world around them. This is a durational installation that grows as the participants engage with performers and their own imaginative flights of fancy. Theatre and play merge as children discover a world of adventures in this magical forest.

Paper Planet is an experience that all ages find inspiring and utterly captivating.

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Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) takes children and their adults on a sea journey never to be forgotten.

Climb aboard and be rocked and rolled across a strange ocean, dive to the bottom of the sea, hear stories on the wind and in the currents of the water and face great danger before coming to safe harbour.

Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) draws its inspiration from the seafaring history in Java and the true tale of arrival told by a small boy.

Combining puppetry, song, shadow imagery and sound, the show bustles with all the life of the ocean. Audience members, both young and old, will be transported by this exquisite encounter.

Polyglot Theatre and Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre worked with local children from a fishing village north of Java to conceive and create this adventure.

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Voice Lab is a unique creative installation module for collecting the thoughts and opinions of children.

Voice Lab encourages reflective thought and the articulation of opinions and feelings. Voice Lab is curious and pays close attention to what children think, feel and say, enabling their ideas to be shared to make positive change.

Voice Lab operates in two modes: the original physical mode and the newly-developed online version.

In the physical mode, children are invited one at a time into a beautifully designed, serene dome – entirely alone. In this space they have a conversation with Voice Lab – a voice driven by a concealed live performer that asks questions, encourages opinion and regards the child as the expert. In order for the physical mode to return to schools and communities, we have made a number of COVID-safe updates.

In response to COVID-19, Voice Lab’s online version offers children the opportunity to reflect on change and uncertainty, and to begin to process the pandemic’s impact on their sense of the world and themselves. In this period of isolation and disconnection it is vital that children have their voices heard and valued. Voice Lab shows children that no matter where they are or how alone they may feel, their voices can be heard and shared to make a difference.

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Polyglot places children at the heart of our art. Our vision is of a world where all children are powerful: artistically, socially and culturally.

Polyglot Theatre is a world-renowned contemporary theatre company based in Melbourne, Australia, making exceptional arts experiences for children and families. Their unique brand of theatre encompasses a wide variety of forms, and is shared with audiences everywhere, from the world’s most prestigious theatres to the football grounds of regional Australia. Polyglot’s artistic and philosophical approach of child-centred practice has earned their strong reputation internationally as a leader in the theatre for young audiences (TYA) sector, celebrated for creating distinctive, participatory works that are playful and conceptually rigorous. Access is central to Polyglot’s work, driven by the right of all children to experience growth and resilience through creative play.

Sue Giles has been the Artistic Director of Polyglot Theatre since 2000, leading the company into new territory with participatory, immersive works, community process and inclusion and interrogation of play in the company’s theatrical offerings for children. Sue has created and co-created over 40 works for the company since that time. Sue’s distinct child-centred creative processes have been the subject of keynotes, masterclasses, workshops and discussions nationally and internationally. Her works have been performed in 18 countries on five continents.

Full Bio HERE

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Website: Polyglot Theatre

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