Polyglot’s Drawbridge Connecting Culture

Polyglot_DrawbridgeAustralia’s Polyglot Theatre will join Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre for the Australian premiere of Drawbridge. A cross cultural collaboration, Drawbridge is a giant walk through comic book created by artists from Australia and Indonesia alongside local school children from Victorian College for the Deaf and will bring Deakin Edge to life during the July school holidays.

This installation will build upon the first Drawbridge project in Merapi, Indonesia earlier this year. Polyglot artists worked with Papermoon to create an interactive theatre performance using local stories and the comic book form, which brought together whole communities from the Mt Merapi volcano area in an exceptional outdoor theatre performance.

Drawbridge in Melbourne sees comic book artist Mandy Ord, Artistic Director of Polyglot Theatre Sue Giles and Papermoon Artistic Director Maria Tri Sulistyani extending the discoveries made in Indonesia into a brand new interactive installation with Melbourne school children.

Drawbridge is a project that just keeps on growing. We are so excited to welcome Papermoon to Melbourne, where we’ll work with Victorian College for the Deaf to expand and deepen the story we made in Java together,” says Polyglot Artistic Director Sue Giles.

“Federation Square have made it possible for this incredibly satisfying cultural exchange to happen -­ two communities of kids connecting across a vast distance through the energies of two theatre companies who share a vision.”

As ever, Polyglot will champion the unique perspectives of children and their instinct for active storytelling, using Drawbridge as a vehicle for interactive play, drawing on the popularity of comic books.

The image of a drawbridge is one of closing a gap, allowing access where before there was an abyss. Whilst on the ground in Indonesia, Polyglot enacted their unique creative process – where the child leads the artistic decisions -­ within the local culture, introducing the working method to artists in Yogyakarta who were interested in in a new angle in making work for a young audience. Now it is Melbourne’s turn to learn from the artists at Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre, and the artistic capital gained by both companies earlier in the year.

Papermoon Puppet Theatre is a Javanese company whose work reflects a political and contemporary Indonesia through puppetry. Co-­artistic directors and founders Maria Tri Sulistyani and Iwan Effendi have performed internationally in New York, Amsterdam, Yokohama, Darwin, the UK and the USA.

Polyglot Theatre tour regularly to South East Asia, but this is the first collaborative project on the ground in Indonesia. Based in Melbourne, the company has an international reputation for its ‘child-­led process’, which places children’s imagination and agency at the centre of performance creation.

Deakin Edge, Federation Square, cnr Flinders Street and St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Dates: 6 – 11 July 2014
Free entry

For more information, visit: www.polyglot.org.au or www.federationsquare.com for details.

Image: courtesy of Polyglot Theatre