News: Cast and creatives announced for Polka Theatre’s Spring season

The cast and creative teams have been announced for three enchanting family productions across Polka Theatre’s two main spaces this spring. From captivating revivals to twists on old tales, there’s something for every member of the family in this brilliant programme. This is the perfect time to spring into 2022 at London’s most exciting children’s theatre!

Roaring into the Main Theatre from 11th March until 24th April, beloved literary revival How To Hide A Lion brings Helen Stephens’ children’s tale to life with playful humour and stunning puppetry. Adapted by Polka’s own Artistic Director Peter Glanville and featuring original music and songs by Barb Jungr (We’re Going On A Bear Hunt), the production is co-produced with Oxford Playhouse and suitable for ages 3 – 6. It stars Steph De Whalley (Magic Goes Wrong, Apollo Theatre) and James Keningale (Cinderella: the AWESOME truth, Polka Theatre), with Will Evans (Snow Dragon, Derby Theatre) on lighting design and Laura McEwan (Moominsummer Madness, Polka Theatre) on set and costume design.

Peter Glanville, Artistic Director of Polka and director of How To Hide A Lion, comments, It has been a pleasure to adapt this book by Helen Stephens for the stage, and to bring it to life with wonderful jazz-infused songs from Barb Jungr. Originally produced for our smaller Adventure Theatre, following a National tour , it has now been scaled up to work in our larger Main House where it will come to life with a roar.

Supported by Polka’s artistic development programme PolkaLAB, Akademi’s Plastic Drastic Fantastic is a dance show for older children focusing on the big issues. Under the artistic direction and choreography of Suba Subramaniam and using the medium of South Asian dance, the production draws on stories and ideas from children and young people to disentangle the fantastic possibilities that plastics offer us from the drastic consequences of their misuse. With intricate movement, play and lots of interaction, this is a fantastic use of theatre to delve into wider topics of much-needed conversation.

Performing from 6th April until 8th May 2022 in the Adventure Theatre and suitable for ages 7+, the cast includes Anjana Bala (Project Emerge), Shivaangee Agrawal (Satelliser, The Doorway Project) and Shyam Dattani (BBC Young Dancer). The creative team features the talents of costume designer Rachana Jadhav (Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation, Royal Court), assistant producer Meera Vinay, set designers Brian Hartley (We Dance, wee groove, stillmotion) & Jesal Patel, lighting designers Aideen Malone & Ben Cowens (The Worst Witch, Vaudeville Theatre), sounds artist and composer Kathy Hinde (Twittering Machines, Töne Festival), sound and tech artist Matt Olden and consultant for deaf audiences Ramesh Meyyappan (Off-Kilter, Tron Theatre).

Suba Subramaniam, Artistic Director of Akademi and choreographer for Plastic, Drastic, Fantastic, comments, We can’t tell you how excited we are about this show! We have been exploring so many wonderful properties of plastics. Through our workshops in schools, we’ve been listening to and watching lots of wonderful ideas young people have about plastics which have helped us create the show. Our scientists and engineering friends at UCL have been helping us to understand more about recycling and the science of plastics. With all this research, our South Asian dancers and creative team have developed a fun, vibrant and thoughtful show. We’re sure you’ll love it.

And in a co-production with Polka Theatre and Derby Theatre, the award-winning Hiccup Theatre spin music, puppetry, BSL and storytelling into The Emperor’s New Clothes, in the Main Theatre from 28th April until 22nd May and suitable for ages 3 – 8. Written and directed by Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director of Derby Theatre, this exciting new adaptation features compositions by Hiccup’s Ivan Stott and is produced by Khai Ramil and Stuart Allen. The production stars Becky Barry (Much Ado About Nothing, The Globe), Rishi Manuel (Secret Life of Boys, CBBC), Brooklyn Melvin (Oliver Twist, Leeds Playhouse), Raffie Julien (Clink, 5Star), Ivan Stott and Ines Sampaio (Extra Time, Derby Theatre) with set design by Rachana Jadhav (The Powder Monkey, National Maritime Museum), costume design by Tim Heywood (The Boys Next Door, Comedy Theatre), puppet direction by John Barber (The Little Mermaid, Derby Theatre) and BSL consultant Donna Mullings (Magic Hands, Cbeebies).

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Photo credit: The Other Richard

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