Artistic Director Quits Polka Theatre

Jonathan Lloyd off to pastures new

Jonathan Lloyd, Artistic Director of Wimbledon's Polka Theatre, is leaving after seven years to take up a new role as Artistic Director/Chief Executive of Pegasus Theatre in Oxford.

Under Jonathan's leadership Polka has produced 40 productions for children aged 0 – 13, from groundbreaking new work to classic adaptations.

The theatre says major achievements have included a sustained commitment to commissioning original new plays for children and development of the Early Years programme for ages 0 – 5.

He has strengthened Polka's roots in the local community by weaving the Creative Learning and Community Engagement Programme into Polka's work on stage, including Inside Out in 2012, created in partnership with a local children's centre and entirely shaped by a group of young children and their families.

His tenure has overseen pioneering work developing 'relaxed' performances for children with autism and sensory impairments, integrated BSL-interpreted performances and the growth of Freefalling, a drama-based project for children aged 9 to 11 at risk of social exclusion.

During his seven years, Jonathan has established Polka as a London theatre with a global reputation. Its plays have been staged internationally during this time across four continents.

Having recently celebrated a record breaking season at the Box Office, Jonathan's departure sees Polka in a stable financial position. Polka says it will now look forward to diversifying its sources of funding, to ensure the future development of the organisation. The Board of Trustees hopes to appoint a successor by the end of summer.

Stephen Midlane, Executive Director of Polka Theatre, said: "We will all be very sad to see Jonathan go but wish him the greatest success at Pegasus. He has made a fantastic contribution to Polka, producing an impressive body of work that has successfully balanced hugely popular theatre productions alongside groundbreaking community projects that have engaged with a broad spectrum of children and families.

"His legacy will ensure that Polka continues to thrive and demonstrate on a daily basis the fun and inspiration that children enjoy from the release of their imaginations."

Leader of Merton Conservative Group, Councillor Oonagh Moulton, added: "I have been a Trustee of the Polka since 2008 and have witnessed the great contribution that Jonathan has made to the theatre.

"The quality and creativity of the productions have been superb and he has also been inspirational in the educational and community projects that he has spearheaded. Children across the borough and further afield have benefited enormously from his work. He leaves a great legacy at the Polka and I wish him well in his future plans.”

May 29, 2013