By Davina Hyde
As the final curtain drops after the recent epic Wimbledon Championship’s mens finals, another curtain lifts in Wimbledon at the end of this month.
Polka Theatre is setting up shop in the Queen Road’s Centre Court Shopping Centre with a new pop up theatre space in the shopping mall.
Maanika and the Wolf, created and directed by Artistic Director Peter Glanville, is a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood, aimed at 3-6 year olds.
Maanika and the Wolf blends the past and the present, the real and imagined, as a grandmother returns to her childhood 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.
The pop up space transforms from Maanika’s house to the grandmother’s cottage, to the wolf’s lair in the woods, accompanied by newly composed music from British-Asian musician Arun Ghosh.
Designer Sophia Lovell Smith (pictured) has used evocative fabrics and toys to bring to life the cultural heritage of the toy box, and Maanika’s parents’ Indian upbringing.
Sophia said: “It is a contemporary telling of Little Red Riding Hood in a British Asian household.
“We have an older actor, a granny, looking back into her childhood, she is back in her old bedroom and discovers her toy chest and her quilt with animals on it.
“Scenes are shifting from the granny to the wolf, and the things coming out of granny’s toy box tell her tale.
“Three to six year-olds may not have seen any theatre before, a lot of them haven’t done any schooling (during these Covid times) so the bringing together of small people is going to be magical, but it also is going to bring together parents and grandparents”.
Artistic Director Peter Glanville said: “Prior to our re-opening season at Polka Theatre this autumn, following a major £8.5 million 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 audience to enjoy.”
Polka temporarily closed for a major redevelopment in February 2019.
The theatre has recently announced their reopening plans following their major £8.5 m redevelopment.
Their venue’s theatrical season will kickstart in September, including two winter productions.
Tickets for Maanika & the Wolf
are priced £14 (£12 concessions) + £1.50 transaction fee
29th – 30th July, 10am & 1.30pm (previews) 31st July – 29th August
Wednesday – Friday: 10am & 1.30pm Weekends: 10am, 11.45am & 2.15pm
Audio Described: 18th August, 1.30pm Relaxed: 20th August, 1.30pm
Signed: 26th August, 1.30pm
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