Wimbledon’s Polka Theatre has reopened to live performances after 951 days and an £8.5 million redevelopment.
The theatre reopened on 25 September with RED, an interactive show that takes audiences from forest to perilous bog on a mission to restore peace to a land overtaken by wolves – and gives them a tour of the new space into the bargain.
Directed by Hannah Quigley, the production is Little Red Riding Hood as you’ve never seen it before, set in a harrowing world where wolves have seized control and only Red can restore harmony. The show mixes visual and physical storytelling, while seamlessly integrating sign language into the narrative.
Polka’s artistic director, Peter Glanville said: “I am thrilled we are launching our first season at Polka with RED. This exciting production takes the audience on an unforgettable journey across woods, swampland and a palace, and is a wonderful chance to discover the newly-redeveloped Polka.”
The renovation has brought a new early years’ theatre, and a learning space for children with sensory needs. The original building has been expanded into an adjoining retail unit and given a new glazed entrance, creating a more welcoming feel for families.
Plus, you don’t need to see a show to check out the changes. The theatre aims to be a community hub with free open-access indoor and outdoor play areas and a new, larger café, as well as spaces for schools’ use.
Shortly before its reopening, Polka announced that stage and screen icon Dame Judi Dench and rising star from the hit musical Hamilton, Jamael Westman, are the theatre’s new patrons. The pair are tasked with championing theatre and creative learning for young audiences.
Find out more about the Polka and book tickets for RED on the theatre’s website.