The Polka Theatre has just announced its grand re-opening will be delayed from Autumn 2020 to Spring 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This leaves the charity with a further £500k to find to fund the much-needed redevelopment project.
We are keen supporters of Wimbledon’s beloved Polka Theatre and have been following its exciting rebuild project with great interest and anticipation over the last few years. It was due to open its redesigned state-of-the-art children’s theatre this autumn, with brand new play and creative learning spaces.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused unavoidable delays to construction, with huge repercussions on their fundraising plans. The charity now faces both the loss of income from the winter productions, as well as additional costs for the extension to the project – totalling a £500K+ deficit.
“This is a frustrating and challenging time, especially when we were so close to being able to welcome audiences back to our reimagined venue. Polka has always led the way as one of the most welcoming theatres in the country, with 100,000 visitors every year, and a commitment to inclusivity. We know that when we are able to reopen our doors, children are going to need imaginative play and creative opportunities more than ever, as we work to reconnect with each other and reshape our communities.”
– Peter Glanville, Artistic Director
Despite these difficulties, Polka Theatre has recently launched Polka Online, a fantastic digital programme of creative activities to support families during the Covid-19 crisis. You can now immerse the children in the Polka experience at home, with a range of engaging story time, drama and puppetry workshop videos, as well as craft packs to download – you can even learn how to make an origami lion, inspired by How to Hide a Lion.
The activities are based on the much-loved recent productions of Julia Donaldson’s The Paper Dolls, How to Hide a Lion, Gorilla and The Everywhere Bear – with further activity themes to be announced in due course. Education resources are also available for teachers and parents for home-schooling. The ‘Teacher Packs’ focus primarily on creative, practical drama activities and literacy exercises.
“At this most challenging time, Polka Theatre are committed to helping children, parents and teachers. Using a range of brilliant stories as our starting point, we are producing online resources to support learning and creativity. No one knows how long this difficult period will last, but until we return to ‘business as usual’, Polka Online will be there.”
– Peter Glanville
To support Polka and its ongoing mission to empower children through creativity, please make a donation You can find out more about the Future Polka project and Polka Online on the website www.polkatheatre.com
Written By: Leela Evans | Co-Editor, Wimbledon Kids
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