The principle aim of PolkaLAB is to provide a supportive in-house framework for the professional development of companies or artists wanting to create innovative and ground-breaking children’s theatre.

PolkaLAB supports up to three companies or artists over 18 months in researching new productions for children, and this year will address significant gaps within the Theatre for Young Audiences sector:

  • Work led by DISABLED ARTISTS
  • Work led by BAME ARTISTS

“Artists require space, time and resources to create new and exciting work. Polka’s creation of PolkaLAB is an investment in the future of Theatre for Children.”

Peter Glanville – Artistic Director, Polka Theatre

Our second PolkaLAB residency will take place between July 2019 – June 2020, with a further 6 months continuing support until December 2020. Click here to find out more about our current cohort.

During this period we will offer:

  • Up to 2 weeks of rehearsal space  over the year (to be decided by availability of spaces and the availability of the company)
  • Mentoring  from the Polka Team over the weeks of rehearsal plus one further day to be decided upon with company
  • Opportunity to   present work  in the newly renovated Polka theatre spaces – exact dates TBC, likely Autumn 2020
  • Financial support  of £2000 to contribute towards creative fees and materials
  • £100 towards tickets for performances acting as research
  • £300 towards the cost of a final sharing
  • Feedback and input  from Young Voices, a group of 8-13 year olds who consult with Polka and attend rehearsals
  • Research and development   opportunities arranged with children from schools, nurseries or community settings


We are interested in:

  • Companies/artists who’s work is DISABLED or BAME led
  • Companies/artists that have a demonstrable commitment to creating quality children’s theatre
  • A clear passion and drive to find ways of creating innovative children’s theatre
  • All applicants should clearly demonstrate how they would work with children as part of the creative process

Please note: The application process is open to companies outside England but Polka cannot contribute to relocation costs.

Applications for PolkaLAB 2019/2019 are now closed.

Please email Assistant Producer,  Rebecca  if you would like to know more about the programme.