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Half Term and Halloween Fun

Whether you’re looking for family-friendly entertainment for the kids this half-term, some spooky seasonal adult fun or just great autumn events to welcome in the colder months, Wimbledon has an abundance of activity this October.

For the kids and free

The Wimbledon Hocus Pocus Trail kicks off on the 16th October (until 31st October). Dust off your broomsticks and hats and join Love Wimbledon’s FREE video-led trail around Wimbledon Town Centre. With your wands at the ready, begin at Fielders Art Shop and look for the Hocus Pocus poster. Scan the QR code, watch the videos of our wonderful wizard Merlin to find clues and solve the riddle. Be sure to make a stop at Multea Choice and Polka Theatre along the way for a special treat and pick up your certificate at the end of the trail!

 

For creative fingers, enter in a Pumpkin Decorating Competition before Monday 25th October for a chance to win a mystery prize at Fielders, or head down to Centre Court Shopping Centre’s No Carve Pumpkin Station on 30th October (11 – 4pm) with themed games, stories and demonstrations. Plus the opportunity for children to have a go at dressing pumpkins using crafty goods, including bandages, glitter and more.

Wolves have seized power at Polka Theatre! Inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, discover the world of RED and voyage across Polka, through woods and swampland in an adventure like no other. Book your tickets here for this exciting visual and physical storytelling production and follow the action along with actors, exploring the brilliant new Polka Theatre building! Running until October 31st.

Why not make a day of it? Explore the wonderful newly-redeveloped Polka venue, featuring indoor and outdoor play spaces, a friendly café, a colourful kids shop stocked with children’s toys (puppets, creative kits, etc.), and a book corner to read with your child. The theatre is also hosting a Halloween Shadows creepy craft workshop on Tuesday 26th October, an Autumn Senses multi-sensory storytelling workshop on Friday 29th October and a Power Poets spoken word masterclass on Thursday 28th October.

Wimbledon Library has a Multi-Sports Sessions for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th October from 9 – 10am. Advance booking is required.

For adults

Enjoy free Prosecco (or Nosecco) while taking part in Centre Court Shopping Centre’s autumn floristry workshop, Pumpkins and Prosecco. From 6.30 – 8.30pm on 21st October, join the session to choose a pumpkin from the locally sourced selection and be taught how to create a stunning autumnal floral display that you can take home beautifully gift-wrapped. All materials and equipment included. Finish your evening in Queen’s Rd Market bar with bespoke cocktails and live music on a Thursday night.
Limited tickets are available.

Up for a night out? Many of the pubs and bars in Wimbledon are celebrating Halloween with special drinks or events.

Trick or treat yourself to a deliciously frightening evening at plant-based café Lu-Ma for their Halloween Supper Club, featuring canapés, cocktails and a 3 course meal: Friday 29th October, 7 – 9pm.

Fancy skipping the Halloween buzz? We’ve got you covered..

Listen to the soothing sounds of jazz in the tranquil surroundings of Lu-Ma café whilst enjoying your favourite meal and tipple, on Saturday 23 October 6-9pm for a very special Jazz Night with saxophonist Andy ‘Bones’ Shaw.

Indulge in foodie haven at our Local Market on The Piazza (Saturday 30th – Sunday 31st October, 11am – 6pm) located in front of Wimbledon Morrisons. Try superb street food, savour the aromas of freshly-baked bread or dive into decadent desserts, olives and cheeses – all whilst browsing unique art, bespoke jewellery, homewares and accessories from independent makers and creators.

Held in the intimate setting of the Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre, hear a unique and unusual story about friendship, love and loss, set to the sounds of live epic pop songs : Epic Love and Pop Songs is running from Saturday 19th October – Saturday 23rd October.

Laugh it up with live comedy every Saturday either at Queens Rd Market (7.30 – 10pm) or Tunnel 267 (8 – 10pm), or giggle away at LGBTQ+ venue CMYK every Tuesday for their Late Gay Comedy Show (9 – 11pm).

See what else is on this October in Wimbledon via our What’s On pages.

Polka Theatre Re-opens

Following a major refurbishment, Polka Theatre will begin to re-open from 16th August with a host of free activities for everyone.

 

Polka Theatre, the UK’s first theatre designed specifically for 0-12 year olds, is re-opening its doors with an exciting season of new productions and free activities for the whole family this August. Following its two-and-a-half-year closure, Polka will once again be bringing world class family theatre and creative learning activities to London.

The new state-of-the-art and eco-friendly building now houses two auditoriums: the flexible Adventure Theatre, which is the first purpose-built UK theatre for under 6s, and the fully refurbished Main Theatre, with new seating and decoration. The completely revitalised venue will provide unrivalled facilities for families and schools, including:

  • An indoor play space in the new Y C Chan Play Den
  • A sensory garden
  • A playground with a bespoke treehouse climbing frame
  • A large and airy café
  • A dedicated rehearsal and community space called The Nest
  • A purpose-built, interactive sensory suite designed for use by children with sensory and special educational needs, installed in the new Clore Learning Studio.
  • Improved accessibility has also been greatly, including level access to the stage for performers and children for the first time.

To kick off Polka’s opening season, the theatre have unveiled three brilliant productions that will be performed in the new building from 25 September.

  • RED
    An exciting visual and physical storytelling production with British Sign Language. Journey through forests and swamplands as you help search for RED and missing Queen Sukotai. But watch out for those sleeping wolves!

    Running Sat 25 Sep – Sun 31 Oct, perfect for ages 6+.
  • Cinderella: the AWESOME truth
    Think you know the story of Cinderella? Think again. Cindy and Ella are the REAL ugly sisters and they couldn’t be more different. When they meet a fairy godmother who’s not what she seems it’s up to Ella to save her sister before the clock strikes 12. Join us for a magical topsy-turvy adventure, we’re going to have a ball!
    Running Fri 12 Nov – Sun 30 Jan, for ages 5+
  • The Night before Christmas
    Bringing Christmas Eve to life in this festive production with original music, puppets and Polka magic. Meet 6 year old Amber (who really loves reindeers), her grumpy grandad and a surprise visitor who turns Amber’s world topsy-turvy.
    Running Sat 4 Dec – Sun 16 Jan, perfect for children aged 3 – 7.

In the meantime, until 28th August, the Polka team are setting up shop in Centre Court Shopping Centre with a new pop-up theatre space. Maanika and The Wolf is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, perfect for 3-6 year olds. The pop-up production 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?

Polka Theatre will reopen to the public from Monday 16th August and offer a range of free activities for young children, including hands-on creativity in the newly planted Wimbledon Foundation Garden and the multi-sensory space, as well as lively and interactive story sessions. It will also host Polka’s Freefalling group, made up of children who face challenging circumstances at home or at school, a Youth Theatre summer school, and research and development sessions with Polka artists. Continuing to pioneer children’s theatre and creative learning in the UK, Polka aims to use their new building to continue to inspire young audiences, school groups and families in and around the local community and beyond.

For all Polka activities, workshops and shows, visit our What’s On page and filter by ‘kids’.

 

Help Your Local Arts

Covid-19 and lockdown has had a significant impact on businesses, especially those within the creative industries, and may continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Art organisations are particularly struggling as there is limited funding sources available for them to fall back on. 

Keeping art and culture alive, is more important now than ever before, as it often aspects of these industries which help us connect with one another, lift our spirits, give us hope, celebrate creativity and diversity, and lots more.

Please consider donating to support our local arts and cultural organisations. If you can’t donate, then there are many other ways in which you can show your support including via volunteering or fundraising.

Wimbledon BookFest

Wimbledon BookFest is not-for-profit arts and education charity and depends on its supporters. Like many other arts organisations and festivals we are now deeply concerned about our future. Much of the arts industry is falling through the gaps on Government support and so they need your help. We need to raise £25k from our supporters to keep going beyond Covid-19. Donate here to help secure the future of Wimbledon Bookfest.

Polka Theatre

Polka Theatre are a registered charity who provide creative activities and support for families, teachers and vulnerable children. Now more than ever children need access to creative experiences which help them to combat loneliness, and navigate their ever changing world. Covid-19 has dealt Polka a significant blow. They need your help to continue supporting children, their teachers and families at a time when they need it most. Visit their Just Giving page here to support.

 

 

Michael McIntyre helps to raise over £30k for Polka Theatre

Michael McIntyre charms 600 Polka Theatre supporters with new material, helping to raise over £30k for Polka Theatre’s redevelopment.

Polka Patron and acclaimed comedian Omid Djalili presented a stellar line-up at the ‘Big Charity Comedy Night’, a fundraising event including Michael McIntyre, Dominic Holland, Tez Ilyas, Holly Morgan and Emma Sidi.

In the stunning Grand Hall at Battersea Arts Centre, audiences spent the evening hooting with laughter to Omid Djalili’s wild stories, hearing Dominic Holland’s pride in his ‘favourite’ Spiderman son and Holly Morgan (and her husband’s) married feminist double act with musical impressions from the world’s divas.

Polka Patron Omid Djalili MC’d the event, bringing on the evening’s headliner Michael McIntyre, who said: “It’s been brilliant supporting Polka. Good luck with the redevelopment! The audience has been fantastic and I’m glad I could help raise a significant sum for Polka.”

Peter Glanville, Polka’s Artistic Director reflected: “We have raised over £7 million to create a wonderland for children and families in the heart of Wimbledon and Merton. We are currently fundraising for the final £400k we need, so events like these are really helping us move forward with our target. Thank you to everyone for coming to the show and our amazing Patron Omid Djalili for making the Big Charity Comedy Night possible.”

The funds raised from this special, one-off comedy night were in aid of Polka’s redevelopment appeal. New planned features of the Polka Theatre will include the Adventure Theatre for 0-5’s, a free-to-all playground and interactive indoor display by set designer Laura McEwen.

 

 

About Future Polka

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019, Polka is the UK’s leading theatre for children up to the age of 12. The £7.5m redevelopment will be the first since the charity opened its doors back in 1979 and will ensure Polka remains at the forefront of children’s theatre for future generations, providing innovative, challenging and thought-provoking work for an increasingly culturally diverse young audience. The development includes a new Adventure Theatre specially designed for young children up to age 5, a new rehearsal and development studio, and a creative learning studio designed with particular reference to children with sensory needs, as well as improved access facilities.

 

Further information on Polka

Polka is one of the few theatres in the UK dedicated exclusively to children. Based in Wimbledon since 1979, Polka creates world-class theatre to entertain and inspire young audiences. Over 90,000 children visit Polka every year to experience engaging, fun and exciting theatre, often for the first time. We strive to spark the imagination, stir the emotions and fuel a sense of discovery in all children. Learning and participation is at the heart of Polka’s work, encouraging children to explore and develop creatively. We offer opportunities for all children, regardless of age, ability, culture or background, working in close partnership with schools, libraries, children’s centres, community associations and a range of other community organisations.

Polka is first and foremost a local theatre, loved by the people of Merton, South London and the wider community, but enjoys an international reputation, known throughout the world as a pioneer of theatre for children, consistently setting the standard and raising audience’s expectations.

 

Many Wimbledon-based businesses have also supported this redevelopment, yet there is still 400k needed to complete the works. Find out more and donate here.

 

Polka Theatre will be re-opening at the end of Summer 2020. For further information visit the Polka website.

 

*Photo Credit : Oscar May

Main Image (from left to right) : Peter Glanville, Michael McIntyre and Omid Djalili

Middle Image: Omar Djalili

Bottom Image (left to right) : Lynette Shanbury Polka joint CEO, Holly Morgan’s Husband, Tez Ilyas, Holly Morgan, Omid Djalili, Dominic Holland and Peter Glanville Polka CEO

What to See in Wimbledon

 

Set your sights on something new

 

The New Year signals new beginnings – a time to reflect, set goals and explore something different. From live music to theatre performances, comedy and community events, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Wimbledon Town Centre.

Look for a superb line-up of performances this season at the New Wimbledon Theatre, including the show-stopping musical On Your Feet!, Matthew Bourne’s legendary film adaptation of ‘The Red Shoes’ and Adam Kay’s ‘This is Going to Hurt’.  If it’s live music or comedy you’re after, head to the Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre for Jazz in a Broad Way or Comedy Round Mine.

The Polka Theatre is set to re-open late 2020 and is still running activities in Wimbledon Library and the Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre.

 

See What’s On in Wimbledon

 

Sparrow    

 

Looking for something a little more low-key? Take a wander through Wimbledon to view the new ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ art collaboration with artist Louis Masai, on Alwyne Road. This street art aims to raise awareness of the decline of British birds in London, particularly the House Sparrow, renowned for its birdsong and seen as a vital part of urban life. Watch the public reaction to the art.

Or go further afield and head out for a stroll to visit the landmarks of Secret Wimbledon or the Rainbow Crossing on The Broadway, next to New Wimbledon Theatre and CMYK bar, which celebrates the town’s inclusivity.