Stephen Midlane has worked at Wimbledon's children's theatre for 40 years
Stephen Midlane, who joined Wimbledon’s Polka Theatre as its Project Supervisor before it opened, is to retire as Executive Director after 40 years at the venue.
Midlane was appointed by the founders of Polka, Richard and Elizabeth Gill, in 1977 to act as Project Supervisor on the original building scheme that led to the opening of the children’s theatre two years later.
He steps down from his role at the end of August this year but will continue as an advisor for the upcoming capital development project which has just announced a successful application for its Stage Two Arts Council funding.
Stephen Midlane said of his time at Polka: “I have been so lucky to have been involved in the Polka journey over the past four decades and proud to have played my part in sustaining it and now steering it to within touching distance of its first major development since it opened in 1979.
“Like many other thousands of families, Polka has been integral to my own children’s, and now grandchildren’s, growing up and they have been inspired and left with lasting, happy memories of Polka shows and activities.
“What I have never lost is my sense of awe at the talent and creativity displayed by the many friends and colleagues I have worked with over the years as they weave their magic in bringing countless stories to life and opening up a world of possibilities for our young audiences. And if ever I have felt jaded, I have only to join those audiences and witness their excitement and wonder to know it’s all been worthwhile!”
Peter Glanville, Polka’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director said today ‘Stephen’s contribution to Polka Theatre over the past 40 years has been extraordinary. He has been key to the continued delivery of world-class theatre for children and helping to propel Polka forward with our major redevelopment plans.
“We wish him every success with his retirement, but we’re delighted that he’ll continue to be a part of Polka’s future by advising on the capital development project. He will be hugely missed by everyone at Polka and the wider industry.”
Chair of Polka Theatre Sarah King said: ‘Not many people could claim to have worked 40 years in the same organisation, let alone be as fresh, enthusiastic and professional from first to last. His commitment to the arts for children and the pride he takes in all that Polka does and has achieved has been a rare gift to the organisation, and to the community as a whole.”
Stephen Midlane started working at Polka Theatre at the beginning of the building conversion in 1977 as a Project Supervisor. He then went on to become Administrator and Administrative Director before being appointed Executive Director in 2002. In addition to his role at Polka, Midlane has been a board member for the Greater London Arts Association, Quicksilver Theatre, Yellow Earth Theatre and Love Wimbledon Business Improvement District.
What do you think? Why not comment on our forum?
February 5, 2018