Polka Family Festive Season 2022/2320th October 2022
Polka returns with a Christmas season tailored for younger audiences and their families. The season will include the return of the heart-warming show Grandad, Me and Teddy Too in the Adventure Theatre; a magical story that celebrates the importance of family, even at long-distances – a treat for audiences aged two to five (and their adults). To entertain children aged five to twelve, Polka will stage Crackers: A Festive Family Farce in the Main Theatre. A brand-new Christmas comedy that will have the whole family in stitches! Both productions are perfect festive activities for young audiences in the lead up to Christmas.
There is more to a trip to Polka than the performance: with outdoor and indoor play areas, an enticing shop and café, it makes for a full family day out. There are also workshops for children this Christmas which include activities such as decorating your own Christmas crackers, storytelling sessions with your favourite teddy and comedy workshops to make your own laugh-out-loud scenes, with options available for a range of ages.
Peter Glanville, Artistic Director of Polka, said:
“We are delighted to be presenting a couple of beautiful productions this Winter. Crackers is a hilarious new farce for all the family, by award-winning playwright Charles Way; whilst for younger children we have a timely revival of one of our most-loved productions Grandad, Me and Teddy Too, written and directed by Early Years specialist Sarah Argent.
These shows are accompanied by a range of holiday workshops, all designed to inspire children’s creativity. We hope to see you soon – there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy at Polka.”
Sarah Argent, Director of Grandad, Me and Teddy Too, added:
“I am so delighted to be returning to Polka Theatre to work again on Grandad, Me and Teddy Too, a show much-loved by audiences, cast, creative team, and staff at Polka when we first created it back in 2014. We are thrilled to have our original cast members, Gordon and Katie (and Teddy Too!), back with us – it is testament to their fondness for this piece and the characters they play that they were so eager to revisit their roles. The touching and heart-warming story revolves around Mia who keeps in touch with her Grandad in Argentina via the internet; this online relationship resonated for some children when we first made the show; since the pandemic, so many more children have experienced this so we hope the show will resonate even more than it did originally. It will be really special to make this show again in the beautiful new Adventure Theatre and to be rehearsing and spending time in the wonderful new spaces in and around the redeveloped Polka building.”
Nicky Allpress, Director of Crackers: A Festive Family Farce further said:
“I’m looking forward to directing this heart-warming comedy for families – I can’t wait to get started on this joyful blend of fast paced fun, and pet shop shenanigans. Expect giggles galore from the youngest to the oldest audience members. Join us as our 10-year-old hero, Joe, unites with his awesome Great GREAT Grandma to see off the villainous estate agent who threatens to spoil the festivities. Join us to see if they can save the day in time for Christmas!”
About the Performances
Polka Theatre presents
Crackers: A Festive Family Farce
Written by Charles Way; Directed by Nicky Allpress
19 November – 15 January 2022
Ages: 5 – 12
Cast: Amy Loughton (Mum); Andy Umerah (Joe); Erika Poole (Grandma); Phil Yarrow (Mike); Sera Mustafa (Maia)
Design by Liz Cooke; Lighting Design by Anna Reddyhoff; Sound Design by Anna Short; Stage Management by Michela Corcoran
Meet the Crackers. They’re trying to get ready for Christmas Day, but it’s not easy when the family pet shop is going out of business, Great Gran’s expecting a visit from Father Christmas and Napoleon the rat is on the loose. Visit Polka this festive season for a family farce like no other, written by award-winning playwright Charles Way.
Charles Way returns to Polka Theatre with Crackers. His previous plays for Polka include Sleeping Beauty, The Night Before Christmas, Playing from the Heart and The Borrowers. Way has won several awards including The Writer’s Guild award for A Spell of Cold Weather, The Arts Council’s Children’s award for Red Red Shoes, and the German Children’s Prize for Missing. He is a member of the Writer’s Guild and is published by Aurora Metro Press, specialising in plays for children and young adults produced worldwide. A new musical based on his adaption of Cinderella opens in Belfast this Christmas, and next year sees the première of a new play for family audiences called The Vanishing Elephant, produced by Cahoots NI.
Nicky Allpress has worked as a freelance director for many years. Her recent theatre credits include My Brilliant Friend (National Theatre), Market Boy (Union Theatre), My Fair Lady (Hexagon Theatre) and About 500 (Barbican); and as Assistant Director, her work includes: Finishing the Picture (Finborough Theatre), The Pirates of Penzance (Wilton’s Music Hall), The Cherry Orchard and Heartbreak House (Union Theatre). As well as directing for numerous drama schools, her recent 1980’s production of Romeo & Juliet sold out at Southwark Playhouse. As a writer and lyricist, she’s currently developing a new musical based on Nell Dunn’s Up the Junction with Chris Difford of Squeeze, alongside the Book, Music and Lyrics team, and has just completed her first series for television.
Polka Theatre presents
Grandad, Me and Teddy Too
Written and Directed by Sarah Argent
2 December – 29 January 2022
Ages: 2 – 5
Cast: Katie Carlton (Mia) and Gordon Warneck (Grandad)
Design by Katie Lias; Lighting Design by Jonathan Chan; Composition by Greg Hall;
Production Management by Nick Allsop; Stage Management by Rebecca Harris
Mia loves her Grandad very much. He lives far away on the other side of the world, but finally he’s coming to visit, and Mia’s excitement is growing. When Grandad arrives, he brings with him adventurous stories and games which set Mia’s imagination alight- together they explore the whole world without ever leaving her playroom. Join Grandad, Mia (and Teddy too) as they share an unforgettable adventure to wherever their imaginations take them.
Bring your own teddy or toy when you see the show. Share your pictures with us #BYOBear and our favourite wins a special prize!
Sarah Argent is an award-winning artist devising, directing and writing theatre for children. She has created a number of productions for Polka Theatre and for other acclaimed theatre companies including Unicorn Theatre, National Theatre, Welsh National Opera, Sherman Theatre, Theatr Clwyd, ThinkArts (Kolkata, India), Haya Cultural Centre (Amman, Jordan) Barnstorm Theatre (Kilkenny, Ireland) and Companyia Frec a Frec (Barcelona). She is an Associate Artist of Cardiff-based Theatr Iolo, for whom, between 2001 and 2018, she developed all the company’s work for under-fives. She is particularly renowned for creating theatre for babies under 18 months old. Her productions for this age have been performed throughout the UK, Australia and India.
About the Workshops
Fri 9, 16 & 23 Dec
Ages: All ages
Join us this holiday time to decorate your own Christmas cracker in our magical, snowy sensory space! The perfect treat for you and your children to enjoy spending special time together before watching our festive farce show Crackers.
This workshop can only be purchased in conjunction with tickets to see Crackers.
Mon 19 Dec
Ages: 0-4 (0-12 months, 1-2 yrs, 2-4 yrs)
Bring your favourite teddy to Polka and join our specialist storyteller who will take you on a drama adventure based on the production of Grandad, Me and Teddy Too.
Tue 20 Dec
Ages: 4-12 (4-7 yrs, 8-12 yrs)
Still cracking up from Polka’s Christmas show Crackers? Then join us to learn more about what makes a cracking comedy act! This workshop looks at comedic timing, improvisation skills and physical theatre techniques used when creating and performing laugh out loud comic scenes.
To book tickets or raise any queries, contact our box office. Call 020 8543 4888 or email [email protected]