Polka’s imaginative productions are inspiring, innovative and provide the perfect introduction to the magic of theatre.
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 workshops.
On this page you’ll find information on how we can make your trip hassle-free, and also find out about the range of services we provide for schools. 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.
We look forward to welcoming your school to Polka!
Polka Schools Brochure
Download Polka’s Autumn/Winter 2018-19 Schools Brochure HERE
After School Clubs
Act, create, explore…….at Polka we have the opportunities for everyone to get involved. Throughout all our classes children can step behind the scenes to create their own performances, have fun and learn new skills.
Classes are delivered throughout the term and can either run at the end of the school day or as part of your daily timetable. They can focus on drama, movement & music or puppetry making & performing. Or we can tailor-make the club to suit your specific needs. The clubs are suitable for Reception, KS1 and KS2, they can be either school or parent/carer funded and run on any day of the week.
Below are the schools that are currently hosting Polka After School Clubs, click the relevant link to book your child on your school’s club.
Please note that Clubs are only open to children attending the participating school. If your child is interested in joining a Polka Club but does not attend a school currently offering one of our Polka After School Clubs, you may be interested in our Take Part Clubs which offer workshops and opportunities for children ages 6 months to 12 years.
If you are a teacher who is interested in running a Polka After School Club at your school, or you would like more information, please contact our Schools Relationship Officer, Abigail via email: Abigail@polkatheatre.com or call 020 8545 8329.
Booking a school trip
Free tickets for teachers: One teacher or accompanying adult goes free for every ten children. Teachers are also entitled to two free tickets for the first week of each Polka production, in order to preview a show before booking for a class.
Reserving tickets: To book tickets for your class, call the Box Office on 020 8543 4888 or email email@example.com.
You can reserve tickets over the phone and we will then email an invoice.
Payment must be made no later than 6 weeks before the date of your visit. Please be certain of your numbers when paying as no refunds can be made once payment is received.
Schools’ performance times: Always check the start time of your performance with Box Office. The Main Auditorium opens 20 minutes before the start of the performance, the Adventure Theatre just 5 minutes.
Refreshments: Drinks, ice-creams and lollies are available but must be ordered in advance. You can download an order form here or contact our Front of House department on 020 8545 8334.
Packed lunches: We can accommodate packed lunches for a £10 fee but this must be pre-booked with the Box Office. Click on the links below to download the Polka refreshment form.
Getting to Polka Theatre: There is no parking for coaches immediately outside Polka, although coaches are able to drop-off and pick-up.
Transport for London also offers free transport for school groups. Find out more information about free transport for schools.
Access and SEN groups: We strive to make Polka as accessible to as wide an audience as possible. Find out about our access facilities by clicking here. If you are an SEN school or group, you can also take advantage of our unique Arts Access package. Find out more about Arts Access here.
Risk assesments: Download Polka’s Risk Assessment here. This is a statement on the risk assessment procedures that we have in place at Polka.
Child safety: Download Polka’s Child Safety Policy here
The magic of Polka in your school
Polka’s experienced team of actors, directors, storytellers and puppeteers are on hand to deliver a range of workshops in your school. Whether it’s a puppet-making session exploring your favourite pets, a storytelling masterclass to celebrate World Book Day, a drama workshop discovering the wonderful women who have changed the course of history or a chance to develop your poetry skills – we will create a bespoke workshop for you and your pupils.
For more details and to book any of Polka’s School Workshops contact Abigail on 020 8545 8329 or email Abigail@polkatheatre.com
Bringing the Curriculum to life
Polka’s productions offer children and their teachers the opportunity to explore many of the suggested core themes from the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 PSHE curriculum:
(Key Stage 2)
- how to make informed choices (including recognising that choices can have positive, neutral and negative consequences)
- to listen and respond respectfully to a wide range of people, to feel confident to raise their own concerns and to recognise and care about other people’s feelings
- that differences and similarities between people arise from a number of factors, including family, cultural, ethnic, racial and religious diversity, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability
(Key Stage 1)
- what improves and harms their local, natural and built environments and develop strategies and skills needed to care for these (including conserving energy)
- that people and other living things have rights and that everyone has responsibilities to protect those rights
(Key Stage 1)
- about growing and changing and new opportunities and responsibilities that increasing independence may bring
- to recognise what is fair and unfair, kind and unkind, what is right and wrong
(Key Stage 2)
- to recognise, predict and assess risks indifferent situations and decide how to manage them responsibly
- that their actions affect themselves and others
- to work collaboratively towards shared goals
(Key Stage 1)
- to communicate their feelings to others, to recognise how others show feelings and how to respond
- to think about themselves, to learn from their experiences, to recognise and celebrate their strengths and set simple but challenging goals.
If you are a school that is unable to visit Polka Theatre for financial or other difficulties, you can apply to our Curtain-Up! scheme . You could receive:
- Free tickets for one of our shows in the Main House (for up to a whole year group)
- Free Q & A session with the actors or director of the show
- £200 towards your transport costs (on receipt of proof of payment)
To apply for free tickets under our Curtain-Up! scheme, please complete the application form in full and return it by…
Post to: Schools and Access Officer, Polka Theatre, 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon, London SW19 1SB
Email to: Abigail@polkatheatre.com
You will be contacted within a month to confirm whether or not your application has been successful.
Curtain Up! is supported by A. & H. Leivers Charity Trust; John Lewis Partnership; Theatre Development Trust; The Charles Skey Charitable Trust; The John Thaw Foundation and Unity Theatre Trust.
At Polka, we are dedicated to improving access to theatre for all children, and we appreciate that extra care is needed when organising a trip for a special needs group.
Arts Access is a unique package for SEN and for units within mainstream schools. It has been developed to ensure that children with special needs who visit Polka have as full and stimulating an experience as possible. Arts Access benefits are:
- A free pre-show school visit from one of our experienced workshop leaders, in order to prepare your group for their visit
- A dedicated usher and a designated area of refuge for the duration of your visit
- A free hour-long multi-sensory drama workshop at your school after the show
In addition, Polka offers:
- Full wheelchair access
- Touch tours of the stage and actors for visually-impaired children
- An induction loop in our Main Theatre for hearing-aid users
- BSL-interpreted performances
- Printed and audio copies of the scripts performed
- Synopses of the performances
- A secure playground for your class to enjoy before or after the performance
- If you would like to apply for the school visit scheme, please download an application form and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 8545 8329.
Special Schools free workshops
This scheme includes:
* Complimentary Outreach drama/dance/music workshops for special schools in London. Both one-off and extended projects available.
Please contact the Creative Learning Department 020 8545 8545 for details.
Arts Access is supported by John Horniman’s Children’s Trust and Wimbledon Foundation.
Polka has a selection of teacher resource packs based on our main house productions, available here to download for free. These packs focus primarily on creative, practical drama activities and literacy exercises that support the development of language and communication.
Freefalling is Polka’s free youth theatre for children experiencing challenging circumstances at school or at home. Children are referred to the project by an adult involved with the child in a professional capacity: For example, a teacher or social worker. Children who are referred to the project will usually have an interest in drama but no experience is required to access and enjoy this creative opportunity.
Freefalling is run by a team of experienced theatre professionals; sessions are designed to improve and develop participants’ confidence, teamwork and speaking and listening skills through games and role-play, while also introducing a range of theatre skills and techniques. After several weekly drama sessions that run throughout the Spring and Summer term, and a final, intensive summer school, the project climaxed with the production of a new play, devised and performed by the participants, on the main stage at Polka.
Freefalling is only available to children attending school or living in the London borough of Merton
For more information about the project please email John McCraw, Freefalling Project Manager at email@example.com.
Freefalling is supported by Arbonne Charitable Foundation; Icon Foundation; The Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust and The Charles Skey Charitable Trust.
Polka Theatre is an Arts Award Supporter. We offer a variety of activities to support children in achieving their Discover and Explore Arts Awards. The Arts Award is a nationally recognised qualification for children and young people aged 5 – 25 years old and can be delivered in a number of ways including; theatre visits, one-off workshops and after school clubs.
Please contact Abigail, Schools Relationship Officer on Abigail@polkatheatre.com or 020 8545 8329 for further information