Hear Me Roar – a collaboration between Polyglot Theatre and Elbow Room Theatre

Playwriting Australia’s Ignition Program has granted these two contemporary companies funds to explore and experiment with a new style of text and performance for/with a young audience, springing from an extremely current issue; gender identity and all that comes with it.

The Polyglot team are well versed in making work collaboratively with children but for some of our team it is a new and exciting learning curve. Collaborating with young people threw our subject matter into the air and after only a couple of workshops we could already see the ideas taking different, more complex shapes.

We tried to work without name labels or gendered assumptions, finding how easy it was to practice and maintain.

As parents shared their stories with us we discovered the power of memory recalled, and the power of attachment between adult and child, as well as all of the expectation that entails.  

We understood how much a parent’s fear for their children’s happiness influences the way they are brought up, or fear of behaviours that make them stand out in the crowd. Normativity seems so much safer.

We tried out non-verbal avenues of exploration but kept coming back to words.

We discovered the joy and fun of mixing it up – with kids gleefully going where adults fear to tread and finding joy rather than panic in fluidity.

We discussed riot and flux, debate and confrontation as dramaturgical concepts.

We made shapes that could be destroyed, and discussed intergenerational activism; the old must be destroyed for the new to emerge.

We are at a point now where the images we have created with the kids are all about paradigm shift – about taking a familiar and established mode and turning it on its head. And what better group of people to explore the future with.

Our team:
Sue Giles and Emily Tomlins – co- directors
Marcel Dorney and Rachel Perks – writers
Steph O’Hara – sound design and composer
M’ck McKeague – production design
Hannah Murphey – production assistant
Rainbow Sweeney – Polyglot Producer
Samantha Butterworth – Elbow Room Producer
Children of the ArtPlay community, Polyglot Inspiring People Society (PIPS), Victorian College of the Deaf students and students of Mahogany Rise Primary School, Frankston North.

Hear Me Roar was seeded by City of Melbourne through ArtPlay’s New Ideas Lab, and is supported by Playwriting Australia through their Ignition Program.

Your can read more about the 2018 Ignition projects here

Through the Ignition Program, Playwriting Australia can increase the investment, range, ambition, diversity and quality of Australian playwriting, leading to new landmark productions. The Ignition Program has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its art funding and advisory body.

Image: ArtPlay, City of Melbourne

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