News: Acclaimed children’s theatre Polka Theatre launch pop-up space in shopping centre

This summer, while Polka Theatre’s building gradually starts to re-open its doors after an £8.5m redevelopment, the team are setting up shop in Centre Court Shopping Centre with a new pop-up theatre space. Maanika and The Wolf, created and directed by Polka’s own Artistic Director Peter Glanville, is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, perfect for 3-6 year olds.

Maanika and The Wolf blends the past and the present, the real and the imagined, as a grandmother returns to her childhood bedroom recalling stories from when she was a young girl. Talking to her granddaughter over Zoom, she brings her Indian dressing-up box back to life and re-enacts her own version of Little Red Riding Hood. But why is there another wolf on the phone and why does her granddaughter Ruby keep trying to change the story?

This incredible pop-up space transforms from Maanika’s house to the grandmother’s cottage and even into the wolf’s lair in the woods. The piece brings a delightful sense of playfulness to the telling of its story with a feeling of rediscovery that all the audience can share in, enhanced by newly composed music from British-Asian musician Arun Ghosh that reflects the overall cultural fusion. Designer Sophia Lovell Smith has used evocative fabrics and toys to bring to life the cultural heritage of the toy box and Maanika’s parents’ Indian upbringing. Additional dramaturgical support is from Sudha Bhuchar, co-founder of Tamasha Theatre Company.

Peter Glanville comments, “Prior to our re-opening season at Polka Theatre this autumn, following a major £8.5m redevelopment, Polka are delighted to be premiering Maanika and The Wolf at Centre Court Shopping Centre in Wimbledon . This is an exciting new venture for us – creating a pop-up theatre in the heart of the community, for our local audiences to enjoy.”

Polka temporarily closed for a major redevelopment in February 2019 and plans will soon be announced about its full reopening. In the meantime, Polka continues to offer activities to schools, community groups and the public, working with over 21,600 people last year. Polka is helping to keep children creative during lockdown, with a range of live, recorded and downloadable activities for children.

Sponsored by HPD Lendscape

Polka are grateful to Centre Court Shopping Centre and Romulus for their support.

Tickets are priced £14 (£12 concessions) + £1.50 transaction fee from

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