Polka Theatre is one of the few venues in the UK which is dedicated to producing and presenting work for young audiences. Since the doors opened in 1979, this unique venue has been entertaining children with resonant, engaging and exciting theatre.
Over 90,000 children a year come to Polka and are inspired, stimulated and engaged by theatre, often for the first time. Polka strives to stir the emotions, spark the imagination and, most of all, entertain. Its two theatre spaces, the Main Theatre and the Adventure Theatre are designed especially for children so that their first taste of theatre is welcoming and relevant.
At Polka children aged 0 to 14 enjoy a wide-range of experiences designed to make theatre a natural part of their lives: from the powerful drama Stamping, Shouting and Singing Home; to hilarious family shows like Flat Stanley; fantastic world-premieres of new plays for children like Cloud Pictures; and adaptations of well-loved stories like We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Polka Theatre for the very young is a vital part of Polka’s artistic programming. Over the past few years Polka has developed its Early Years work and established itself as a centre for innovation in this field. Children as young as 9 months and their families are brought into a colourful and stimulating environment where simple stories are told in a sensory and visual way. Early Years shows also visit Polka from across Europe encouraging the telling of a diverse range of stories in a varied and exciting way.
Creative programming keeps Polka’s work fresh and relevant. Audiences can expect imaginative new writers, dynamic performers, inventive adaptations of popular stories and resonant subjects. Everything we do is focused on providing children with thrilling world-class theatre.
At the heart of Polka’s work is a programme of learning that encourages children to explore and develop creatively. Every Polka show is supported by a learning programme. Schools visiting the theatre can benefit from online free resource packs and rehearsal diaries, show-related workshops and after-show talks. Polka embraces family learning and encourages it through exciting family days, after-show events and show-related activities packs. It also runs a regular programme of out-of-school clubs and summer schools giving children the freedom to explore their creativity and learn a wide-range of performance skills from storytelling to puppetry.
Polka is first and foremost a local theatre, loved by the people of Wimbledon and the wider London community, but enjoys an international reputation, known the world over as a pioneer of theatre for children, consistently setting the standard and raising audience’s expectations.
When you come and see a show at Polka you won’t just enjoy the theatre. Polka’s welcoming building is a resource for local people with its friendly café, worry-free foyer with big toys and a book corner, a charming garden and a playground complete with a Wendy House and giant cat! It is playful, fun and interactive - Polka stimulates even the biggest child’s imagination and is a magical place where you can share a special moment with your children.
Polka is a registered charity - without subsidy and the generosity of our donors, our average ticket price would increase from £9 to £25! Up to 800 children visit Polka every day and Polka introduces thousands of children from disadvantaged backgrounds to theatre for the first time each year. Click here to find out how you can support us.
Artistic Director and Chief Executive
Board of Directors
Name (Date of Appointment) Occupation
Sarah King (2012) (Chair) Management Consultant
Mairi Brewis (2012) Strategist
Vivienne Creevey (2012) Publisher
Adam Cross (2015) Drama Teacher
Nigel Halkes (2014) Non-Executive Director
Punita Hossain (2012) Technology and Management Consultant
Katy Manuel (2015) Arts Marketing Consultant
Iain McNicol (2014) General Secretary, The Labour Party
Jane Moorman (2013) Lawyer
Sarah Sawyerr (2014) Assistant Headteacher
David Shriver (2010) Communications Consultant
Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE
Malorie Blackman OBE
Sir Kenneth Branagh
Vicky Ireland MBE
Joanna Lumley OBE
Sadiq Khan MP
Dr Sir Ken Robinson
The Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury
Derek Tullett CBE
June Whitfield CBE
David Wood OBE
‘Polka productions are innovative and exciting, designed for children and young people. An introduction to theatre at its best. You will not be disappointed and your children will love it’
June Whitfield CBE