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 until December 2020 for continuing support.

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
  • Feedback and input  from Polka’s Young Voices Panel our 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 led by either DISABLED ARTISTS or BAME ARTISTS
  • 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
  • A clear demonstration of how you would work with children as part of the creative process
  • We are particularly keen to hear about new pedagogical approaches to the process of creating theatre with children

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

Applications open on Wednesday 5th June 2019.

If you have any questions please contact Senior Producer, Zoe –  zoe@polkatheatre.com.


Photo Credit: Neil Harrison