Arts & Humanities

Polyglot Theatre – Children & Community Engagement Coordinator

With the support of the Merlyn Myer Fund, Polyglot were able to establish a peer group of children, the Polyglot Underage People Society, or PUPS.

The newly establish PUPS were formed in early 2013 and provided ongoing input into the organisation and its work. In developing more structured mechanisms for ongoing children’s participation in the development and creation of Polyglot’s work the project aimed to strengthen Polyglot’s artistic vision and practice; grow Polyglot’s capacity to work with diverse cultural audiences and increase the accessibility of Polyglot’s work.

Polyglot achieved this through the

  • Establishment of a peer group of children – the PUPS – who will provide ongoing input into Polyglot and their work
  • Involvement of the PUPS in new work development for Sonar, and Separation Street
  • Involvement of the PUPS in the development of Voice Lab – a new mechanism for children to give their opinion and feedback on performances and ideas
  • Involvement of a diverse range of children in different projects
  • PUPS members did interviews and made films feeding back on Polyglot performances they were involved in
  • Major community projects involving disadvantaged kids and parents with babies in communities of need

Trauma training workshops organised for staff and artists working with children and families experiencing trauma.

The Importance of Community Involvement

The establishment of a permanent ongoing relationship with children (to be part of PUPS) from the diverse communities Polyglot worked in. This clarified the need (now embedded in Polyglot’s community strategy) to work with other culturally diverse and disadvantaged kids (such as Dinjerra Primary School, Victorian College of the deaf, Mahogany Rise Primary School, the school children from Minami Sanriku) on an ongoing basis to ensure the connection and longevity of their input into Polyglot’s work. Polyglot’s strategy is to work with these children on multiple projects over multiple years.

“We were also thrilled though by the input for the kids who did regularly participate in the PUPS- they were eager to be engaged, and enthusiastic in their contributions, and have felt ‘ownership’ of Polyglot work.” Tamara Harrison, Executive Producer, Polyglot Theatre

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