What you need to know about Polka Theatre:
Polka Theatre is one of only a handful of London theatres exclusively dedicated to staging theatre for children. Located in Wimbledon, a short walk from both Wimbledon and South Wimbledon tube stations, Polka Theatre is made up of two auditoria, a café, a playground and a garden. They’re particularly committed to making the theatre accessible to all, with a fully wheelchair accessible venue and regular scheduling of access shows. Their focus on keeping children entertained extends right into the foyer, where you can find toys and also dressing up materials. Plus, the café has a child-friendly menu.
Polka Theatre has two performance spaces. The Adventure Theatre is a lovely area for young children under the age of five to relax and feel part of the action. Seating is available for adults, while the little ones are welcome to sit on the carpet area. It has room for 70 visitors. The Main Stage seats 300 and shows productions for children up to around 13 years of age.
Opening in its current venue in 1979, Polka Theatre produces its own shows and stages those by touring companies. Peter Glanville is the Artistic Director.
Top facts about Polka Theatre:
- Polka Theatre started out as a touring puppetry company.
- When Polka Theatre talks about making theatre for children, it really means it. The venue specialises in early years productions, which introduce children from birth to five-years-old to performance.
- Polka Theatre also shares its home with a group of teddy bears who used to be part of a teddy bear collection in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Key information about Polka Theatre:
Tube: The closest tube station is South Wimbledon (Northern line) which is a five minute walk from the venue. Alternately, you could use Wimbledon (District line) which is a ten minute walk from the venue.
Train: Southern, Thameslink and also South West Trains serve Wimbledon train station, which is a ten minute walk from the venue.
Bus: Bus numbers 57, 93, 219 and 131 stop directly outside the venue. Bus numbers 156, 163, 164 and 200 stop in Wimbledon, approximately ten minutes walk from the venue. To plan your journey in more detail, please visit the Transport for London website.
Parking: Limited pay and display parking near Polka Theatre is available on Latimer Road, South Park Road, Bridges Road, Dudley Road and Kings Road. Because finding a space can be difficult, the theatre suggests visitors consider using the car parks in the centre of Wimbledon, including The Broadway (next to the New Wimbledon Theatre), Queens Road, St George’s Road, Hartfield Road and Hartfield Crescent.
Polka Theatre is wheelchair accessible through the main entrance. All areas of the theatre have step free access apart from the Main Stage, which can be accessed via a lift.
The Main Stage has spaces for up to six wheelchairs at the front of the auditorium, while the Adventure Theatre has spaces for two wheelchairs.
You can find an adapted toilet towards the rear of the building.
Working dogs are welcome in the theatre.
To discuss all access requirements and to book tickets, please phone the box office on 020 8543 4888.
The Polka Theatre offers concessionary rates to visitors with disabilities, plus a free ticket for one companion.
Polka Theatre schedules BSL interpreted, audio described and relaxed performances, plus touch tours. For BSL interpreted performances, they also provide a synopsis with images and a film clip for visitors to view. For relaxed performances, ticket holders are provided with a relaxed performance pack, including a picture information strip to help familiarise visitors to the theatre with the production they are about to see. A designated ‘chill out’ area is also provided outside of the auditorium for visitors to use at any point during the show.
Polka Theatre has its own café for ticket holders and non-tickets holders. The café specialises in healthy kid-friendly foods, including jacket potatoes, sandwiches and panini. They are happy to warm up baby food that visitors bring with them. The café also hosts children’s tea parties, which can be booked in advance for special occasions.