HR project management for a magical children’s theatre in Wimbledon, London – helping the team get ready to move back into their new home

HR project management for Polka children’s theatre

There aren’t many theatres as unique as Polka which is dedicated exclusively to children. It’s a magical theatre where you can enjoy many special moments as your children grow up. I provided HR project management for Polka, after they had downsized their team and were eagerly waiting to move back into their re-developed theatre. This was after 40 years in their original home in Wimbledon, London.

They were excited as this was going to give them more space and opportunities to offer future generations of children. In order to achieve this they knew they needed some HR project management support in a number of areas. Now was the perfect time to bring me on board to help them. After all, I help leaders in the performing arts to manage their people to create better organisations through HR project management.

Getting to know you and your team

After our all-important intro chat, over a cup of hot chocolate, the Executive Director (ED) and Head of Operations chose me to work with them on HR project management. I met and had intro chats with members of their senior management team. They all embraced the changes we were looking to make to their HR systems, procedures and policies. This bit excites me, when you know that you’re all on the same page and can see the improvements which will make life easier for a small team. Especially when they’re working at capacity, with a desire and drive to achieve even more.  

Reviewing and revising contract templates for all the different employees, workers and freelancers

With a new team to recruit and welcome back into their new home, we focused on creating new contract templates. These included ones for permanent and fixed-term employees, casual, rather than zero-hour contracts and the all-important freelancers. This was to ensure consistency across all departments. 

Creating new policies, procedures and staff handbook to welcome a new team

I created and updated a suite of 20 policies and procedures including family friendly ones. I revised the Staff Handbook, re-imagining it as a Welcome Handbook which all the aforementioned types of team members could use. 

Streamlining recruitment and selection to make it easier for a small team

As Covid-19 threatened to stop us in our tracks, I created and launched a Health and Wellbeing policy to support the team during the pandemic. Work continued and following streamlining the recruitment and selection process,  I held a training session on Zoom for the senior management team. This ensured they had a clear guide to follow and templates to use at every step of the way, from drafting the job description to holding the probation meeting.

HR project management for HRIS and EAP systems

After 3 enjoyable months, I was also able to leave them with a proposal for an online HR system (HRIS) and Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). These are two online systems which often require specific HR project management. This is in order to see them from proposal right through to implementation. This would ensure that the team at Polka are fully supported once they move into their new home. I can’t wait to revisit them there and hopefully work with them again to implement these new systems.

Don’t just take my word for it, here’s what Polka Theatre said about me

I worked with Rachel at Polka for several months as Project Manager to review all our HR policies and processes, and research implementing a new HR management system. Rachel was an absolute pleasure to work with…I certainly hope to work with her again in the future.” Lynette Shanbury, Executive Director, Polka Theatre. You can read more about what clients say HERE.

Next steps

If you’ve got HR projects that you know would make a huge difference to your small team and business but haven’t got resources or capacity, it’s exactly why HR project management can help. Feel free to click HERE to contact me or pop me an email at and I’ll be back in touch very soon to have a chat.

Find out more

You can read more case studies HERE and if you’ve got young children, find out more about Polka HERE.