Creative learning and participation is at the heart of Polka. We create experiences for all children and families, regardless of age, ability, culture or background, to engage in the arts through our accessible and extensive learning programme. Representing children, providing them with opportunities to learn about theatre and involving them in the creation of Polka’s professional theatre is central to our ethos.
Participation: engaging young people through a range of workshops and activities for 3-14 year olds and our Young Voices Panel a group of 8-14 year olds who consult with Polka about the running of our theatre and participate in the creation of some of our artistic work.
Community Engagement: developing links and partnerships in our local community and working on various projects in libraries, community organisations and children’s centres.
Schools and Access: offering free ticket, support schemes and creative learning projects for schools and special educational needs groups that tie into our artistic programme.
Act, dance, create, explore… at Polka we have opportunities for everyone to get involved. From holiday workshops to after-school groups, children can step behind the scenes to create their own performances, have fun and learn new skills.
Young Voices Panel
Polka’s Young Voices Panel are a diverse group of young people who come together regularly throughout the year to share their views and opinions on theatre. In particular, the Panel get the opportunity to influence how Polka Theatre runs, and get the chance to express their views on our productions and facilities, as well as tell us what they’d like to see at Polka.
Young Voices members are all in Years 4 – 8 (ages 8-14 years) and each present a genuine interest in being a panel member and a lasting part of Polka. Panel members get exclusive backstage tours of the theatre, the opportunity to quiz the Artistic Director of Polka, sit in on the rehearsals of new plays, watch each production and give feedback to Polka, and generally begin to explore the ways in which we select our plays and market them.
Polka is committed to engaging with our local community, with opportunities for community groups in Merton, Wandsworth and Croydon.
Free and subsidised tickets
We have free tickets available for selected Main Stage shows or subsidised tickets available to certain groups. Please contact Fran who will be able to advise you on what shows we have coming up. For public bookings please refer to the What’s On pages or call the box office on 020 8543 4888.
Partnership with Merton Libraries
We offer an exciting range of drama, storytelling, music, puppetry and craft workshops in the school holidays for children and their parents and carers. These take place at Colliers Wood, Mitcham, Pollards Hill and Morden libraries. The workshop age ranges vary, so please check with your library before booking. These workshops are free of charge, but places must be reserved at the library.
World of Stories and Music
Polka is also pleased to be able to offer FREE tickets for our monthly World of Stories and Music events. On the first Saturday of each month (except August and September) we host London’s most dynamic spoken word events from 10.30am. As well as enjoying totally interactive story sessions, all visitors receive a free ice-cream. These storytelling sessions are very popular so contact Fran today to find out about gaining free tickets for your community group.
We are currently developing our next year of community engagement activity. If you are interested in being involved in any of Polka’s community and outreach projects, or work with a group that might benefit from Polka’s provision, please contact Fran. We may be able to offer workshops and/or ticket allocations and are always interested to hear from new groups and look at new ways that we can work in partnership with our community.
Community Engagement is supported by BBC Children in Need
Hundreds of schools and nurseries visit Polka each year to experience thrilling, world-class theatre that can also provide plenty of opportunities for follow-up activities. Polka productions are accompanied by a full education programme which includes teachers resource pack and a range of school workshops.
Free tickets are available through Polka’s Curtain Up scheme for eligible schools. SEN groups can make the most of their visit with our free Arts Access package. Other projects include Playhouse, giving schools the opportunity to perform a new play written by a top professional playwright, and Freefalling is Polka’s free youth theatre for children experiencing challenging circumstances at school or at home.