Our first ever visit to Wimbledon’s Polka Theatre was magical in every way possible. We’ve been meaning to visit the theatre for some time to catch Cinderella the Awesome Truth and finally we went along in the lull between Christmas and New Year.
Firstly let’s talk about the recently re-developed theatre! The space is incredibly well designed for families to enjoy much more than just a show. With an affordable on site-cafe, small gift shop and outdoor and indoor play areas you could easily while away a whole day in the space. There are things to climb and slide down, well designed nooks and crannies, dressing-up area, building are and lots more. Toddlers, preschoolers and babies will all be entranced by the area, just as we were. Read more about the redevelopment here.
Now on to the show. It is a festive production, something in-between a panto and a theatre show that celebrates the power of self-worth, questions our troublesome relationships with social media and celebrates healthy body imagery. It is a brilliant show that addresses concerns about body worth and appearance in a fun and sensitive way with plenty of music, and empowering lyrics (by the award-winning Felix Hagan of Operation Mincemeat, New Diorama Theatre). Check out this interview with Felix for some further info on the creative process behind the music.
The show is written and directed by Sarah Punshon (The Box of Photographs, Polka Theatre) and it is a re-imagining of the traditional cinderella tale. Find out more about the inspiration behind the show here. I was particularly moved by the perfectly curated diverse cast of upcoming stars and West End talent, including Jade Lauren (Rent, Shaw Theatre) as Cindy, Tiajna Amayo (NYT REP company) as Ella, James Keningale (Henry V, OVO) as Prince Charming and LJ Parkinson (Death Drop, The Garrick Theatre) as Dandini.
There puppets are created by Judith Hope (The RSC & V&A Museum) and bring the show to live. A great production for both young and older audiences to enjoy together.
We know children from a really young age are grappling with pressure to look a certain way. So, we talked to our scientific advisors about how to create a joyful Christmas show that would help boost kids’ self-esteem. Our heroes learn that what they look like on the outside, what kind of dress they wear or what kind of hair they have, is absolutely not the most important thing about them. I’m so excited to bring these characters to the main stage in the gorgeous new Polka building. Felix’s songs are incredibly joyful, the perfect way to celebrate Christmas!Director and co-creator Sarah Punshon comments.
Cinderella the Awesome truth is on at Polka Theatre until 30th of January and tickets start at £10 more info and bookings here.