Polka Theatre

The 40-year-old Polka Theatre in Wimbledon was the first UK theatre venue dedicated exclusively to children. This project features a refurbishment of the theatre with an added extension to the rear of the building being led by Foster Wilson Architects.

The aim of the refurbishment is to modify and improve systems in existing space and to provide a new rehearsal/performance space for 1-5 year olds. Additionally, the objective is to open up the theatre by expanding the front of the building with foyers, a café and a shop.

Skelly & Couch have completed the mechanical and electrical design up to tender, including ventilation, heating, cooling above and below ground drainage, fire safety and back of house lighting. The front of house lighting has been completed by the consultants 18 degrees, who also provided lighting for a specialist audio-visual theatre designed by Charcoal Blue.

The ambition for the project is to ensure that the remodelled theatre will be an exemplar of sustainability. Some approaches that will be taken to meet sustainability targets include the improvement of the building’s thermal performance through insulation, double glazing of all the windows, displacement ventilation of both theatres, low energy lighting sources and the development of green roofs and landscaping to encourage bio-diversity.

With these changes and enhancements, the Polka Theatre will become ever more dynamic in its quest to engage young audiences, thereby exploring and extending creative possibilities to their full potential.