Polka is one of the few theatres in the UK dedicated exclusively to children. The organisation started life in 1967 as a touring company under the Artistic Directorship of Richard Gill, and later and settled in its current location in Wimbledon in 1979. Polka’s goal is to create world-class theatre to entertain and inspire young audiences.
Over 90,000 children attend productions at Polka every year to experience engaging, fun and exciting theatre, most often for the first time. Over the course of four decades, the theatre has hosted over 3.5 million visitors.
The Polka aims to keep its work fresh and relevant through creative programming. In its two spaces, the Adventure Theatre and Main Stage, young audiences can expect new plays, dynamic performers, resonant subjects and inventive adaptations of popular stories.
The Polka Theatre has dedicated programmes which focus on specific age categories, tailoring their plays to appeal to children at different stages of their lives. In 2003-2004, the repertoire of the theatre was expanded to include theatre for babies and teen theatre.
Today, Polka continues to lead the way in producing innovative, high-quality and often daring theatre for young audiences. In 2019 the company celebrated 40 years of Polka with Polka40, a season of participatory work made with the local community. The heart of the company remains rooted at our newly refurbished Wimbledon home.
In September 2021, following a major two year redevelopment project, Polka reopened its doors for the autumn/winter season. The new state-of-the-art building was designed by architects Foster Wilson Size and has been re-imagined into a dedicated children’s theatre and vibrant hub for young audiences and their families.
Polka has seen over 3,500,000 visitors in the 40 years since opening their doors.
All public and backstage areas of the theatre are accessible. We have level access to the Adventure Theatre, Clore Learning Studio, cafe, shop and outdoor play and garden spaces. There is a lift to the Main Theatre, The Nest (rehearsal and community space) and meeting room. Staff are available to help at any time.
There are automatic doors at the front of the building and, once inside, there is step-free access to all levels and clear signage throughout the building.
Polka offers reduced rate tickets for those with access requirements, and a complimentary ticket for a companion/carer for all shows.
Relaxed, Audio Described, BSL, and Captioned performances provided for as many shows as possible.
Induction loop in Main Theatre and Adventure Theatre
Accessible, gender-specific and all gender toilets are available as well as baby changing facilities.
Guide dogs policy:
Guide dogs are welcome at the theatre.
Both auditoriums are wheelchair accessible. The Main Theatre can cater for up to 6 wheelchairs in the front row. The Adventure Theatre can cater for up to 2 wheelchairs.
Access from street to foyer:
Access from theatre foyer to seat:
The Adventure Theatre has level access and the Main Theatre is accessible via lift.