Preschool children and their adults are invited on an interactive sea journey at Arts Centre Melbourne, inspired by the seafaring history of Java, Indonesia and a true tale of a small boy’s arrival in Australia. Melbourne’s Polyglot Theatre and Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre will present Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) from 30 March – 2 April in State Theatre Rehearsal Room as part of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Asia TOPA: Asia Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts.

Combining puppetry, song, shadow imagery and sound, Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) places children at the heart of the story by inviting the audience, young and old, to be passengers on this adventure on the high seas. Aboard a large boat, participants are rocked and rolled across a strange ocean before they dive to the bottom of the sea, hear stories on the wind and in the currents of the water, and face great danger before coming to safe harbour. The show bustles with all the life of the ocean – from the fish below to the birds above – while evoking the majesty and mystery of the sea itself.

Polyglot Theatre and Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre have been working together since 2008. In May 2015, they developed Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) in Lasem, a small fishing village with a remarkable history on the north coast of Java. Lasem was an important port, with many Javanese boat factories in the area. Hundreds of boats are now buried in the Javanese sea following the events of World War II. The history and mythology of this town played a key role in the inspiration of Cerita Anak (Child’s Story) as both companies collaborated with the local community to weave these stories into the work.

March 30 – April 2