Introducing Polka Online (#PolkaOnline): a new digital resource for family creativity during lockdown.
Polka Theatre, the UK’s No.1 children’s theatre based in South West London, has moved its output online during the lockdown period. Content created around the theme of Lions, Gorillas and Everywhere Bears explores some of the much-loved children’s books that the theatre has adapted for stage, providing online story time, workshops and activities to help families stay creative.
Currently Polka has released two activity themes: The Paper Dolls, based on Julia Donaldson’s family favourite about a young girl’s paper doll creation, their adventures and resilience when facing danger. Polka presents an online story time read by actress Andrea Sadler who performed in the most recent production of the The Paper Dolls. The show was last staged in Winter 2019/20 and is a co-production with Islington-based Little Angel Theatre. There are also drama workshops to do at home led by Polka practitioners Mark Stephenson and Leyla Stirling.
The second in the series is Anthony Browne’s picture book Gorilla – a story of a birthday moonlit adventure young Hannah is taken on by her toy gorilla. The show was last staged in 2015, and its director (and Polka Associate Director) Roman Stefanski provides a story time reading. Activity packs provide a range of banana-based creativity, including recipes, games and animal facts. Polka’s Creative Learning Officer Heidi Pointet leads two online workshops around movement, character and emotions.
Over the coming weeks, Polka will share similar resources around their productions of The Everywhere Bear and How To Hide A Lion, as well as In The Winter Wood (which was devised by renowned storyteller Jan Blake) as a piece uncovering global story-telling traditions. Further activity themes will be announced in due course.
Artistic Director Peter Glanville has curated the series:
“At this most challenging time, Polka Theatre are committed to helping children, parents and teachers. Using a range of brilliant stories as our starting point, we are producing online resources to support learning and creativity. No one knows how long this difficult period will last, but until we return to ‘business as usual’, Polka Online will be there.
Education resources are also available for teachers as well as parents for home-schooling. The teacher packs focus primarily on creative, practical drama activities and literacy exercises that support the development of language and communication.
Polka is encouraging families to share how they get on with the online activities and has already received submissions of home-made paper dolls and videos of children participating in online workshops. To share any pictures and videos, connect with Polka through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Polka Theatre is a registered charity and, like many theatres up and down the country, it faces difficulties in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. To support Polka and its work empowering young children through creativity, visit polkatheatre.com/donations to make a donation.