News: Dame Judi Dench and Jamael Westman announced as new Patrons of Polka Theatre

Multi award-winning stage and screen icon Dame Judi Dench will join Polka Theatre as a new patron alongside theatrical talent Jamael Westman, who currently plays Alexander Hamilton in LA, having originated the role of in London’s West End. These two acclaimed performers will work with Polka to champion theatre and creative learning for young audiences across the UK.

Following a major £8.5million Future Polka redevelopment campaign, Polka Theatre will reopen their doors this autumn with an enthralling programme of world class family theatre and creative learning activities. The completely revitalised state-of-the-art venue will provide unrivalled facilities for families and schools, including two auditoriums. The theatre seeks to continually inspire young minds, school groups and families in and around the local community and beyond, making theatre accessible for all.

Dame Judi Dench commented: “I am delighted to become a Patron for Polka Theatre. Just like adults, children deserve the best theatre, and that is exactly what Polka does. I am incredibly passionate about the wonderful, positive impact that theatre can have on our lives and it is so important that starts from childhood. Theatre opens doors to new worlds, gives flight to imagination and brings stories of all kinds to life. Polka inspires and brightens children’s lives, rousing their imaginations to run wild. The new building will make sure Polka can keep making extraordinary theatre so children can continue to dream in bright colours. It is a place where children feel safe to be whoever they want to be, and most importantly it is open to every child and family to experience and take part.”

Jamael Westman said: “I’ll never forget the first time I came to Polka Theatre. I saw some of the young people, explore, discover, and express themselves. It was palpably exciting and joyous. Polka Theatre continues to offer a safe space to do all of those things, as it empowers young people to then go out and be confident in themselves in all their wonderful individuality. Polka is at the forefront of that, and it’s why I’m honoured to be a Patron in support of our young people in our community.”

Polka Theatre’s Executive Director and Joint CEO Lynette Shanbury added: “We are delighted to announce our two brilliant new Patrons, at a very important moment for Polka as we begin to re-open our doors following our incredible redevelopment. Both are such talented performers, as well as being hugely passionate about the importance of theatre for children and young people. It is inspiring for the children we work with to have such extraordinary role models join us.”

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