New productions, visiting works, classes and workshops
The Autumn/Winter season at Wimbledon’s Polka Theatre includes both new productions and visiting work as well as classes and workshops, celebrating some of the greatest living writers for children.
Across the festive season, Polka stages one of the greatest stories ever written for children, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. This adaptation by Toby Hulse, is brought to life with music and songs by director Roman Stefanski and runs from 9 November to 17 February 2019.
For younger children, the Adventure Theatre will be transformed into a cosy story telling hut where master storyteller Jan Blake tells the tale of In the Winter Wood. This new co-production with Apples and Snakes runs from 29 November to 17 February.
Artistic Director of Polka Theatre, Peter Glanville, said: "We are delighted to be presenting a range of productions catering for all ages from 0-12 years, accompanied by our Take Part activities, giving children the opportunity to learn theatre skills and have lots of fun expressing their creativity.
"We are delighted to be presenting a range of productions catering for all ages from 0-12 years, accompanied by our Take Part activities, giving children the opportunity to learn theatre skills and have lots of fun expressing their creativity. Comprising of adaptations and original work, highlights in the season include the first UK stage adaptation from Shamser Sinha of the Panchatantra Tales - Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree, Kenneth Grahame’s classic The Wind in the Willows and Into the Winter Wood, devised by Jan Blake. Polka will be celebrating its 40th birthday in 2019, and we are on the cusp of our first major redevelopment, ensuring we create a future Polka which continues to inspire generations of children and families for at least another 40 years."
For more details on the Future Polka campaign and how to donate, go to www.polkatheatre.com/futurepolka,
A Polka Theatre production
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
A play with songs adapted by Toby Hulse
Directed by Roman Stefanski;
Designed by Liz Cooke; Composed by Julian Butler
9 November – 17 February
When Mole abandons spring cleaning for the delights of the riverbank, he has no idea of the adventures that lie ahead. With Toad’s obsession for all things fast causing chaos (poop, poop!), it falls upon his friends Ratty, Mole and wise old Badger to save him. But that means coming face to face with the ferrets and weasels of the Wild Wood…
In this delightful adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s classic story of friendship and bravery, this winter warmer will take you on a journey through the seasons. A wonderfully funny tale brought to life with music, songs and the usual Polka magic!
Toby Hulse is a playwright and theatre director from Bristol, who specialises in work for young and family audiences. He returns to Polka Theatre following To Dream Again. Other credits include The Jungle Book (Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham), Bed Time (Oxford Playhouse), War Game (Bristol Old Vic), Incredible Journeys (Story Museum, Oxford) and Northanger Abbey (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School). He is currently writing a new Sherlock Holmes play, Sherlock Holmes and the Crimson Cobbles for Chipping Norton Theatre, and is developing Blocks for Oxford Playhouse, an improvised piece for Deaf audiences. In addition, Hulse teaches Improvisation, Clown and Performing for a Younger Audience at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Roman Stefanski has consistently worked with Polka Theatre (over 70 productions) nurturing his skills with puppetry and now shares his skills as a consultant to various theatre companies including Watershed productions, Birmingham Stage Company, Mid Wales Opera, Pied Piper Productions, Thousand Cranes Co and All Aboard Productions; and as a tutor to drama colleges (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, RADA, ALRA, East15, University of Hawaii). As a performer Stefanski has appeared on stage, TV and film including working with the Jim Henson Company. He also worked with the political satire TV company Spitting Image. He currently has another show on tour Sarah & Duck which over the years have been travelling around Britain, and Gorilla which is now playing in Istanbul.
A Polka Theatre and Apples and Snakes production
IN THE WINTER WOOD
Devised by Jan Blake
Designed by Matthew Edwards
29 November – 17 February
Come and snuggle down in our Adventure Theatre for a tales full of bravery and friendships. When Pig and Goat discover they’re being fattened up for a winter feast, they decide to run away to find a little house in the winter woods, where they can live happily together. Along their journey they meet Goose, Hare and Cockerel, who offer their special skills to help build their new home.
Devised by Jan Blake. As one of the leading storytellers, Blake has been performing worldwide for over twenty-five years. Specialising in stories from Africa, the Caribbean, and Arabia, she has a well-earned reputation for dynamic and generous storytelling. Recent highlights include Hay Festival, where she was storyteller in-residence, the Viljandi Harvest Festival in Estonia and TEDx Warsaw.
As well as performing at all the major storytelling festivals both nationally and internationally, she works regularly with the British Council, leads storytelling workshops for emerging storytellers, and gives masterclasses for teachers, brands, and businesses. In 2011, she was the recipient of the biannual Thüringer Märchen Preis, awarded to scholars or performers who have devoted their lives to the service of storytelling. In 2013, The Old Woman, The Buffalo, and The Lion of Manding created and performed with musicians Kouame and Raymond Sereba toured to acclaim winning a British Awards for Storytelling Excellence (BASE).
A Polka Theatre production
UNDER THE RAINBOW
Devised by Peter Glanville with Marleen Vermeulen
Designed by Verity Quinn; Composed by Julian Butler.
24 October – 3 November
Returning to Polka this autumn, Under the Rainbow’s evocative music, puppetry and a beautiful transformative set, gently tells the story of one woman’s courageous journey. As she crosses land and sea, she befriends a turtle and a colourful bird of paradise, discovering a plentiful island that gives her hope for the future.
In Polka’s Adventure Theatre, children will feel part of the journey, with opportunities to interact with the performer on her remarkable journey, before she builds her new home on stage.
A Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company production
THE GINGERBREAD MAN
Directed by Niki McCretton
Performed by Chloe Mantripp and Duncan Taylor
Puppetry by Holly Miller; Designed & Set Built by James Lewis, Tin Shed Scenery
24– 28 October
Imagine being born in an oven and the first person you meet wants to dunk you in his tea! Up and down and into town, our Gingerbread Man must use his wits to escape anyone who finds him tasty. Is he faster than a Goose? Can he cross a river using a Fox as a raft? Are Gingerbread Men allowed on trains?
Come and see the adventure of the deliciously smelling Gingerbread Man and meet the bravest biscuit of all times! Stuff and Nonsense apply their usual brilliance with a mix of puppetry, live action, great music, humour and a stunning staging of this well-loved classic tale.
Polka welcomes the best shows for early years from around the UK and Europe.
Hurly Burly Co. presents
OVER THE MOON
Ages 0 – 2
Over the Moon weaves together gentle classical music with familiar nursery rhymes and games in an interactive musical adventure for babies.
Come along for musical tickling, stretching, chomping and stamping journeying together through the day: waking, eating, playing and sleeping. With music by Debussy, Ravel, Humperdink and Monteverdi alongside folk songs, nursery rhymes and music composed by the company.
Norwich Puppet Theatre and Rene Baker Puppetry presents
THE FROG AND THE PRINCESS
10 – 11 November
The Frog and The Princess is a poignant re-telling of the Brothers Grimm tale that will entertain and delight family audiences. This exquisitely manipulated and humorous puppetry performance explores the meeting of cultures and what happens when a Princess deems a Frog unworthy of being her friend, just because of what he is. As the Frog and the Princess undergo an emotional journey from rejection to friendship they discover that deep down they are not so very different after all.
Theatre of Widdershins presents
SNOW WHITE, ROSE RED, BEAR BROWN
16 – 18 November
Snow White and Rose Red – sisters, twins, best friends – have lived in the forest since they were Babes in the Wood. Not as worldly wise as their mother would have liked, they are nonetheless, kind, caring and sometimes a little over enthusiastic in their deeds! When their quiet life is interrupted by a friendly bear a new chapter begins.
All questions will be untangled in this new show from the Woods of Widdershins, using puppets, storytelling, original music and a fantastical fairytale forest.
In addition, Polka Theatre is offering a number of workshops alongside performances including Storming Stomp! (Ages 6 – 9), Spooky Shadow Puppet Show! (Ages 8 – 14) and Autumn Stories (Ages 6 months – 5 yrs) in October Half Term and Trouble on the River Bank! (Ages 9 – 14), Mask Fun with Ratty, Toad and Badger! (Ages 6 – 8) and Winter Tales! (Ages 6 months – 5 yrs) in the Christmas holidays.
October 29, 2018