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The Impossible Zoo: Coburn Primary School Residency (2008)
Polyglot Theatre worked with the students of Coburn Primary School, as the designers, builders and creators of a whole school puppetry and song performance called The Impossible Zoo in 2008.
The audience came into the school on Sunday December 7th, 2008 at 4.30pm to be met by students being ticket sellers, waterbirds, meerkats, lions, walking rubbish bins, animal poo collectors, butterflies, spiders in a toilet, legs of a gigantic dragon. The huge audience wandered around looking at exhibits and eating food, watching the children perform and then sat down to watch a simple and all-involving performance with three major songs and puppetry.
It was a successful whole school event, strongly supported by the community and parents and friends.
The students worked with a team of professional artists to develop skills in music making and choral singing, puppet and mask construction, writing through devising processes and performance techniques.
The students’ own vision and aesthetic instincts drove the look and feel of the performance. We used recycled materials as our major resource, encouraging children to use materials they can find anywhere, also fitting in with the school’s environmental policy
Quotes about The Impossible Zoo
Sophie Buttner – Puppet Maker/Designer
One girl at lunchtime said to me “This is the best thing we have ever done at school” which was said so sincerely. That’s what it all about. The kids loved it and really found out a lot about themselves through this process.
Watching a parent cry with happiness to see her child up there on the stage, standing tall, keeping still and singing loud and strong was definitely the highlight. This showed me that these kids are capable of great things if they are given the opportunities and this presentation showed this to the parents.
Karen Kyriakou – Musical Director
The journey was a success, but it is nice to be able to say the performance was too, and the journey never leaves one feeling that adrenaline and the same importance and focus as the performance does - where the kids can see why they have been channelled down certain paths. It was so worthwhile.
Merophie Carr – Artistic Director
The main positive really was that the students and teachers seemed to get slowly won over by the project, particularly as its shape became clearer. By the end there was a real buzz of everyone working and keen on the show.
During terms 3 and 4 2008, Polyglot is working in partnership with the students of Coburn Primary School, Melton, in an extended schools residency funded by Arts Victoria. Together, they will devise a celebratory end-of-year performance project.
The title of the project is The Impossible Zoo. The concept centres on turning Coburn Primary School into a zoo for the night, where guests will be taken on a ride through strange enclosures where they will meet some weird and wonderful animals. The project has been led by three of Polyglot's artists, Merophie Carr, Karen Kyriakou and Mischa Long, working alongside Coburn Primary’s Performing Arts Department.
The Impossible Zoo recognises the students to be at the core of the design, content and creation of a puppetry performance. The students' own vision and aesthetic instincts will drive the look and feel of the performance.
This project is coordinated through Polyglot's Artlink program. Artlink projects use puppetry to create performances by, with and for marginalized communities, supporting the development of excellent process and production models.
In addition to the performance, a short film will also be an outcome, made by a professional filmmaker alongside the children.