Polka Theatre secures vital support for our Capital Redevelopment  

December 11, 2020

We are  delighted  to announce that we have  been awarded a  £253K  Capital Kickstart grant as part of the Government’s  Culture Recovery Fund. This support is specifically towards our capital  redevelopment  project  and  supporting  our building  to  reopen in 2021. The fund is administered by Arts Council England and enables us to push forward with our redevelopment despite the financial challenge caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

This  support  leaves u s with just  over  £100K left to raise to complete funding for our £8.3m capital redevelopment which began in 2019. The  theatre  will reopen next spring  with new  café and open-access play  spaces, improved physical access, expanded  capacity for our early years work, and a new rehearsal and community space.  

Lynette Shanbury, Executive Director says: 

“This support is essential to us at this high-pressure moment in our capital project. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the timeline and cost of our project, with supply chain issues, a temporary site closure and limitations on the number of workers on site all slowing things down. We’re looking forward to receiving the building back from our main contractors early in  2021, and  starting our own fit-out process before reopening in the spring. None of us know exactly what 2021 will  bring,  but  completing  our venue  redevelopment means we can get on with the  really  important bit – filling  it with  theatre and creativity that  the  children, communities and audiences we work with  will love.”

Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon says: 

“Polka has been a cultural gem in Merton’s crown for over 40 years. I am delighted that the Government has recognised Polka’s importance to local theatre and awarded  this grant. When it reopens it will continue to be a vital hub for children, school groups and families… The pandemic has devastated the theatre industry and many venues will not survive. Polka supports our children’s education, helps guide them through challenging times and enables them to be part of a strong and constructive community… Cultural interventions that bring the community back together after this pandemic will be vital to help children and families deal with the aftermath of this crisis.”

Tracey Podger, Children’s Centres Manager for the Early Years, Family Wellbeing and Early Help Service at London Borough of Merton, says: 

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic this year the Polka Theatre team have continued to reach out to children and families across the borough in a range of different and creative ways! Their work has been fundamental to supporting children and young people through a confusing and sometimes scary period in their lives, never before  experienced. The programmes and services they have managed to deliver during this time have particularly supported children’s mental health and wellbeing, something that will continue to be in need of support as we all move into 2021; with ongoing challenges for us to navigate. This support will ‘kick-start’ them into the new year with greater certainty to be able to continue and develop  their  contribution to the education, entertainment and wellbeing of Merton’s children and families.”

Want to help us reach that final target? Why not take part in the  Polka Charity Quiz and Auction

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For further information or photographs please contact: lynette@polkatheatre.com