Polka Theatre’s Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive Helen Matravers and the whole team are pleased to announce further details of shows and activities for families to enjoy during the summer holidays, alongside the previously announced Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Ghosts (Main Theatre, 22 June – 18 August).


Playing alongside it in the Adventure Theatre from 3 July – 11 August will be How to Catch a Star, a magical adaptation of the book by award-winning Irish author Oliver Jeffers, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, presented by Branar, one of the leading Irish theatre companies making work for children.


Once there was a boy who was always looking up. He dreamt of having a star as a friend. This is the story of his adventure.


Jeffers’ highly acclaimed debut, How to Catch a Star, was first published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2004 and was the first in a series of award-winning ‘Boy’ books, including Lost and FoundThe Way Back Home and Up and Down. Since then, his books have been translated into over fifty languages and sold over 14 million copies worldwide.


Branar’s signature storytelling creates a show which reminds us all to follow our dreams. Seamlessly blending puppetry from Suse Reibisch with a magical original score by Colm Mac Con Iomaire and directed by Marc Mac Lochlainn, How to Catch a Star is a non-verbal show aimed at 3 – 5-year-olds, and is kindly supported by Culture Ireland.


Completing the summer season is the return of Page One Theatre’s production of Rise and Fall from 14 - 25 August in the Adventure Theatre, following a sell-out run at Polka in 2023. This gentle and relaxing show, for ages 2-5 years and their families, is a poetic and intriguing performance about holding on and letting go.


Come and explore an ecosystem of balloons: universes in miniature. In Rise and Fall you’ll meet all manner of balloons from small floating moons to vast bouncing orbs. Forever expanding and contracting, balloons are free to float, fly and sway. Hold your breath and go sailing away. 


Polka will also be hosting a range of ever popular Take Part workshops over the Summer including Starry Tales (ages 0-4, a sensory storytelling inspired by How to Catch a Star), Ready, Steady...Pow! (ages 5-8, featuring drama techniques and stage combat inspired by Sam Wu Is NOT Afraid of Ghosts), Comic Book Art & Writing Masterclass (ages 9-12), How to... Make a Space Rocket (ages 3+, inspired by How to Catch a Star), Polka Puppet Summer School (3 day summer school for ages 5-8) and Polka Youth Theatre Summer School (5 day summer school for ages 8-12).


Helen Matravers said, “As well as the premiere of Sam Wu in the Main Theatre, Summer at Polka is a gorgeous celebration of Early Years in our Adventure Theatre. I am delighted that we’ve got Irish company, Branar who are magicians with children’s theatre, taking over the theatre for six weeks with How to Catch a Star. The puppetry is exquisite, audiences are in for a stunning treat. It was really important that we were able to present Irish-made work as part of our season, maintaining a commitment to telling stories and working with companies from all over the world. Polka has always championed and staged work which presents something really different for Early Years audiences, and so returning for a joyful end-of summer treat is Rise and Fall by Page One Theatre Company. A show which gently delights and mesmerises – it returns after a sold-out week in 2023! Our Creative Learning Take Part programme offers something special for all children too, with a diverse and exciting range of activities to get involved in both as families, and just for little ones. You can totally make a whole day of being at Polka this Summer, and we’ve kept it as affordable as possible alongside our free indoor and outdoor play areas!”


Polka Theatre is one of just a handful of dedicated children’s venues in the UK. Re-opening in 2021 after a major renovation, Polka continues to present a year-round programme of shows produced by Polka and from visiting companies. Polka also offers a full programme of creative learning activities for ages 0–12, with over 21,000 children taking part in the last year. Polka enjoys flexible rehearsal and workshop spaces along with two performance spaces: the Main Theatre has a 300-seat capacity, and the Adventure Theatre can seat up to 90 depending on the show format.


Polka is a sustainably minded community hub and vital resource, open 6 days per week, 50 weeks per year at a challenging time with step-free access, free-to-access play spaces and a cosy and welcoming café and shop.