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Polka Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Wimbledon
Polka Theatre, 2021
Photo by Hufton+Crow

Time Out says

This exceptional young person’s theatre has earned its place in generations of young hearts since it launched in 1979. The Wimbledon theatre stages in-house productions, workshops and storytelling sessions for families and schools – look out for literature events featuring children’s authors such as Jacqueline Wilson. An £8.5m revamp – which handily coincided with the coronavirus pandemic – has vastly upgraded it, with many more facilities including a sensory play area added when it reopened in 2021.


240 The Broadway
SW19 1SB
Tube: South Wimbledon
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What’s on

The Snow Queen

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Children's

Jude Christian is an achingly cool leftfield playwright and director… and apparently a massive Christmas fan, having been a mainstay of the Lyric Hammersmith panto creative team for years. Not 2023, however, as she finds a new seasonal outlet in the form of the Polka Theatre’s Christmas show, its first under new artistic director Helen Matravers. Directed by Emma Baggott, ‘The Snow Queen’ is, of course, a fresh take on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved story – Christian does Christian – in a zippy update for ages six-to-12 that roughly hews to the shape of the original while adding distinctly cheerier vibes.  Broken up into short chapters by Joe Boylan and Paula James’s narrating Ancient Trees, it tells the story of best friends Gerda (Rebecca Wilson) and Kai (Finlay McGuigan), who dream of becoming adults by saving the town from the clutches of the enigmatic Snow Queen (Phoebe Naughton). But their plans are knocked off course when a shard of evil troll mirror gets into Kai’s eye and he has a total emo meltdown before running away with the Queen. It’s an enjoyable show that doesn’t quite feel like it knows what it wants to be. It’s most confident when it’s being silly: the larky prologue about the Troll King and his mirror and the Python-esque sequence with singing flowers are both gems. But while it’s understandable that Christian hasn’t been 100 percent faithful to the original Victorian story – it’s very meandering, and quite religious – her version ends up defanged by a d

The Night Before Christmas

  • Children's

Theatre show for little ones based on Clement Clarke Moore’s immortal 1923 poem (actually called ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’, though nobody calls it that now). It’s set on a chaotic Christmas Eve, which young Amber is rescued from by an unexpected visitor. Ages two-to-six.

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