Polka is a children’s theatre in Wimbledon, south London. Since 1979 it has been at the heart of the local community, providing what is often the first experience of the stage to an audience that is very diverse.

The project is designed to be true to Polka’s values of diversity and inclusivity. The design works primarily from a child’s perspective with the height of lighting features and control interfaces set at a height to work best for little people.

The lighting forms a wonderful fantasy environment that references childrens’ stories.The architectural light is incorporated into storytelling elements – creates a wayfinding element (toilets are easy to find next to the lighthouse, for example). This lighthouse uses a proper fresnel lens to create the authentic lighthouse effect. Buttons bring on surprise lighting effects such as to light up the favella – enjoyed by children and largely unnoticed by adults.

Clever switching zoning enables rudimentary scene setting which allows changes to lighting levels without dimming.

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