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POLYGLOT'S ARTISTIC RATIONALE (an extract)
Inspired by the artistry of children, Polyglot makes interactive theatre where audiences play an active part in the creation of imagined worlds. It is through children’s play, acknowledging them as experts in creative thinking, as role models for spontaneous action and as willing believers in impossible things, that Polyglot’s theatre is made.
Our program of works combines ‘gallery’ and ‘theatre’ experiences to create physical environments which invite the audience’s active involvement: a miniature town of houses and towers open for inspection, an enormous interactive game, a world in the sky where children lie on a bed of clouds, a walk-through comic book, a compound of cardboard boxes where children can construct their ideal city.
Moving beyond audience participation, each of these works is experiential, tangible and wholly immersive. We are interested in the active agency of audience members; their experiences fused within the work, so that their engagement with it irrevocably changes the performance, or affects another’s experience of it. We change spaces and create worlds. We play with scale and reverse power relationships, so children become enormous or tiny, and have the capacity to make decisions which have theatrical impact.
We create inventive theatrical works by enabling a creative vibration between intuitive and trained artistry. Our model connects professional artists to contemporary childhood by channelling the instinctive creativity of children – unencumbered by the inhibitions of adulthood – as the starting point and touchstone for all works. We engage distinctive collaborative artists who develop strong artistic concepts which both arise from, and provide frameworks for, the input of children.
The Polyglot aesthetic is playful, informed by the naïve artistic influences of children’s artwork, where bold use of colour, impossible ideas and simplicity in line and form are privileged over drawing ‘inside the lines’. Our artists are inspired by the organic shapes, improbable figures and skewed perspectives of children’s drawings. These design concepts are married withexperimentation with construction materials and operation techniques. As the literal meaning of our name – ‘theatre of many languages’ – suggests, we use a range of artistic devices to create our works. Puppetry sits amongst visual art, multimedia, sound, movement, light, animation and other performance elements in our creative teams’ theatrical palettes.
Featuring diverse materials from the humble cardboard box, to graphic novels collaged on two-dimensional set pieces, twisted elastic to wire-based mobiles animated overhead, it is the presence of absorbing visual metaphors and compelling original music which are found across all of Polyglot’s works.
Polyglot’s vision is driven by thematic explorations of the place of children in society, and aims to stimulate conversation between children and adults. We seek to challenge, to foster curiosity, to inspire, and to encourage children to take responsibility for themselves in the imagined worlds that are created through the theatrical experiences presented.
Polyglot is embarking on an investigation of how children play, create and experience art in participatory theatrical spaces, making innovative theatrical works which challenge audiences to view the world in different ways.