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On December 5, 2009, one of the shops in Healesville was transformed into an exquisite miniature landscape, of houses and hills, roads and architectural features. Wish Street was the title of the installation, invented by children who took part in an 8 week process of imagining, design, construction and decorating their own small houses, inside and out. The audience of kids and community walked into a transformed space, through small cardboard archways into a secret world where the houses, lit up and colourful, created a feeling of intimacy and encouraged people to peer through windows and open rooves for a closer look at the detailed interiors. The audience could listen to a specially created soundtrack , where verbatim descriptions of their houses were mingled with sound effects, singing and musical instruments played by the children. It was opened by Councillor Jeanette McCray and attended by the Mayor Len Cox.
Wish Street is part of our creative development for our new work, City of Riddles which will premiere in November 2010.
The project took place with two classes of prep and grade one children from Healesville and Badger Creek primary schools and was funded by the Shire of Yarra Ranges Bushfire Recovery Program. The kids worked with drawing and construction, moving effortlessly from large scale abstract charcoal drawings to detailed colourful depictions of dream houses, placing the colourful joyous drawings against a background of charcoal swirls, unconsciously creating a powerful picture of regeneration. They threw references to the Black Saturday fires into the early part of this exploration; references that were more impactful because of the casual nature of their observance. The construction of the houses they found totally engaging – from the first plain cardboard box to the final colourful, textured, detailed dream. In the creation of these they found a source of never ending interest, and the houses became a reflection of the individual personalities in the room, the obsessions of each child, the way they saw the world and their own space. And also the way they worked – with others or quite alone.
The creative energy, playfulness and imaginative power of these children kept the houses alive – each with their own story and a tale behind every detail. Small fingers meticulously worked away at difficult tasks; attaching a water tank, sticking together the complex parts of a telescope, making a series of computers for an office, carefully putting tiny plates on a tiny table.
The houses have all been returned to the children with a certificate of involvement and their own kit of bits and pieces to keep adding and making; knowing that in the realm of creative play, there is no finished product.
Creative team/designers/builders: Children in Prep/1 at Healesville Primary School and Mrs Hunter and 1/2 T at Badger Creek Primary School and Ms Teague.
Tutors: Sue Giles, Daniele Poidomani, Mandy Field, James Wilkinson
Designer/builder: Daniele Poidomani
Sound designer: James Wilkinson
Builder: Mischa Long and Production Assistant: Dan Goronszy
Production Manager/Lighting Designer: Toni Smith
Outside evaluation: Bec Cole
Documentation: Lachlan McLeod and Leonie Van Eyck
Industry placements: Jess Knight and Jackie Plum
Polyglot would like to thank the Shire of Yarra Ranges Bushfire Recovery program and Arts Victoria for their generous support of Wish Street.