Polka Theatre, the UK’s first theatre designed specifically for 0-12 year olds, is reopening its doors with an exciting season of new productions and free activities for the whole family this August. From a perilous adventure across swamplands, to a modern take on a fairy tale and a young girl’s heart-warming adventure, there is something for everyone as Polka once again brings world class family theatre and creative learning activities to London following its two- and half-year closure.
The completely revitalised venue will provide unrivalled facilities for families and schools, including: an indoor play space in the new Y C Chan Play Den; a sensory garden; a playground with a bespoke treehouse climbing frame; a large and airy café; a dedicated rehearsal and community space called The Nest; and a purpose-built, interactive sensory suite designed for use by children with sensory and special educational needs, installed in the new Clore Learning Studio. Accessibility has also been greatly improved throughout, including level access to the stage for performers and children for the first time. The new state-of-the-art and eco-friendly building now houses two auditoriums: the flexible Adventure Theatre, which is the first purpose-built UK theatre for under 6s, and the fully refurbished Main Theatre, with new seating and decoration.
Polka’s first show to take over the redeveloped venue is RED, a visual and physical storytelling promenade adventure, performed with British Sign Language. Directed by Hannah Quigley (Marvin’s Binoculars, Schools Tour/Unicorn Theatre) with set and costume designs by the award-winning Rachana Jadhav (Claire Cunningham’s Menage a Trois) and Associate Designer Ben Glover (Medea, Cockpit Theatre), audiences will journey around the new building, across forests and bogs, on a mission to restore peace to a land overtaken by wolves.
2021 will also see two new winter productions with the world premiere of madcap musical adventure, Cinderella: the AWESOME truth, and a fantastical reimagining of the classic Christmas Eve poem The Night Before Christmas.
Polka Theatre will reopen to the public from Monday 16th August and offer a range of free activities for young children, including hands-on creativity in the newly planted Wimbledon Foundation Garden and the multi-sensory space, as well as lively and interactive story sessions. It will also host Polka’s Freefalling group, made up of children who face challenging circumstances at home or at school, a Youth Theatre summer school, and research and development sessions with Polka artists.
Continuing to pioneer children’s theatre and creative learning in the UK, Polka aims to use their new building to continue to inspire young audiences, school groups and families in and around the local community and beyond.
Polka’s Artistic Director Peter Glanville comments, The past 18 months have been particularly challenging for children and their families, so we are delighted to be able to reopen Polka, not only with a beautifully redeveloped building, but with a season of new productions designed to create memorable and inspirational experiences.