ON the eve of the capital’s big birthday weekend, a crowd of lucky children got first run at building their own cardboard city today using over 5000 boxes at their disposal.
The sounds of kids laughing, screaming and generally having fun will fill the normally sedate space between the Canberra Theatre and the Legislative Assembly until Saturday, as “We Built This City” gives them free reign to develop their own cardboard neighbourhoods in a giant box city.
Children from The Woden School were among the first to have a go this morning, after winning free tickets in a competition run last year by Disability ACT. They were joined by students of Wanniassa Hills Primary School and Southern Cross Early Childhood School.
What started as a pile of boxes with a network of roads quickly began to look something like a real city, with towering skyscrapers popping up in some sections while others were neglected and fell into disarray.
The children also made sure they added a few darker corners to their city, according to “Wrench”, one of the Polyglot Theatre performers who play the role of engineers and assist the children.
“They seem to be making little caves and lots of little buildings with rabbit-warren bits going on,” he said. “There’s been lots of talk of spies, and hiding from spies, so I’m not really sure what that says about Canberra.”
Centenary of Canberra volunteers and members of Melbourne’s Polyglot Theatre spent all of yesterday taping 5440 boxes together ahead of today’s opening, which was attended by Canberra Gunners new recruit Camontae Griffin and the Centenary’s executive director, Jeremy Lasek.
Mr Lasek said the giant play area was “another demonstration that we can actually have fun in Canberra.”
“We know what fun is, and it’s happening here in spades,” he said, adding that Canberra’s grown-up property developers might be inspired by the younger generation.
“I think there’s a lot of developers in town who would be eager to see what our youngest developers are coming up with,” Mr Lasek said. “We’re a city of innovators and that innovation should start when you’re old enough to walk and old enough to talk.”
Polyglot Theatre has developed the idea over about 15 years based on feedback from its young participants and has presented it in countries all over the world.
We Built This City is in Civic Square today, Friday and Saturday on the hour from 10am-4pm. Tickets cost $10. For more information call 6275 2700.