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!
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, call the designated Schools’ Booking Line on 020 8545 8333 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 directors, puppeteers, playwrights and drama practitioners can lead workshops in your school hall. We can work with up to thirty children at a time and tailor-make the experience to suit your group. Polka’s dedicated Creative Learning team can make a workshop to suit any theme, topic or book.
Whatever you are studying we will work with you to help bring the curriculum to life!
For more details and to book any of Polka’s School Workshops contact Jessica on 020 8545 8329 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.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.
Schools to perform a new play written by one of Britain’s top playwrights on Polka’s Main Stage in July 2017
Playhouse is a national collaboration between Plymouth Theatre Royal, York Theatre Royal, Bristol Old Vic and Polka Theatre. The four theatres work together to commission professional playwrights each year to write short plays specifically for large casts of young people aged 8 to 11 years to perform. There will be 4 festivals performing the new plays across the UK.
Each theatre works with 6 schools in their city and supports the development of the teacher as a director. The project is launched with representatives from all schools coming together for a 2 day retreat with the writers. Following the retreat, the teachers then return to school to rehearse the play with professional development opportunities throughout.
For further information about Playhouse then please email email@example.com.
Playhouse is supported by The Ernest Cook Trust.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freefalling is supported by Arbonne Charitable Foundation; Icon Foundation; The Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust and The Charles Skey Charitable Trust.
Work Experience 2017
Each year, a group of year 10 and 11 students get the opportunity to experience life in a real working theatre. They will experience all areas of theatre production and talk to members from each department at Polka.
The next Work Experience Week will take place from 10th – 14th July 2017.
If you would like to apply, please download the application form here.
The latest we can receive applications is 24 February 2017 and will have contacted all students by 10 March 2017 if we are able to offer you a place. We are now receiving and processing applications, so please return your form as soon as possible.
If you have any questions please contact Jessica.