News

Find out the latest news from behind the scenes at the Unicorn!

 

Call out for child performers for two Unicorn shows

 

Auditions are now closed, thank you to everyone who expressed an interest.

We are looking for child performers to take part in two Unicorn shows in our new 2016 / 2017 season - Adler and Gibb (directed by Tim Crouch) and Double Double Act (made in association with Made in China).


Double Double Act
We need four children, two girls, two boys aged 8 or 9 in June 2017 who are adventurous, confident, and curious and are ready to try something new. We need children who like to play, who are talkative and subversive, who will delight in trapping, tricking and winning against adults, and who can be very mature but also delight in nonsense and absurdity. Double Double Act is on at the Unicorn from 20 Jun - 9 Jul 2017.

Find out more about the show here: /Double%20Double%20Act 

Audition workshop July 23rd and 24th July 2016

Adler and Gibb
Tim Crouch and the creative team are looking for local girls aged 8-9 years to participate in the live performances of Adler and Gibb at the Unicorn (30 Aug - 3 Sep). Girls do not need to be available for all performances. 

Find out more about the show here: /AdlerAndGibb 

The selected child must be available to attend a 1 day meeting and rehearsal with Tim Crouch and the cast at Queen Mary University of London in July - the date and time will be confirmed.
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JOIN OUR PARENT AMBASSADOR SCHEME - FREE EVENT 29 JUNE, 7 - 9PM

 

Do you love coming to the Unicorn with your family? Join our Parent Ambassador scheme and get closer to the action! 


We are looking for enthusiastic, creative and confident parents to join our team of Parent Ambassadors. As an Ambassador, you will be invited to exclusive events at the Unicorn, receive free tickets and offers and be part of a much-valued team. We will ask you to share your vision and ideas on our work and help us by spreading the word to other families. 
To find out more about becoming an Ambassador, please join us at our Summer Event on Wednesday 29 June, 7 - 9pm.

Hear from special guest speakers such as Matthew Robins, the man behind our unique adaptation of Ted Hughes' The Iron Man coming up in 2017, and find out more about the making of our 5-star smash hit show, Baddies: the Musical.  This will be a great opportunity to meet other ambassadors and members of the Unicorn team.

There will be drinks and a light picnic-style dinner and we'll give you lots of information and materials to take away.

Please RSVP by emailing Jane.dodson@unicorntheatre.com by Monday 27 June and let me know how many places you would like.

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COULD YOUR BABY STAR IN OUR PHOTOSHOOT?

 

We are on the lookout for a baby to take part in a photoshoot for a show in our new season. Think you can help? Full details below: 

We're seeking: A baby aged between 8 – 14 months
When: Sat 21 May, late morning for approx 2hrs
Where: studio in Forest Hill (address to follow)

If you would like to take part, please send us your contact details and a recent baby photo to marketing@unicorntheatre.com by Thu 19 May. Travel expenses will be covered and we will provide refreshments on the day. As a thank you for taking part, you’ll receive 2 free tickets for a show in our new season. 
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Disabled Access Day 12 March 2016

 

As it is Disabled Access Day on Saturday 12 March, we wanted to tell you more about how the Unicorn Theatre is an access-friendly venue. When it comes to making theatre for everyone, we’re definitely pioneers in finding new, engaging ways to get everyone involved. We pride ourselves on ensuring that the theatre is not only accessible to our audience members but to also provide an accessible working environment.

We spoke to Sair Smith, Events Producer at the Unicorn who plays a key part in managing accessible performances and is also responsible for creating our Usher+ scheme

In what ways is the Unicorn Theatre access-friendly? 
SS: At the Unicorn we strive to offer shows that are accessible to everyone and we work hard to ensure that we offer specific performances with additional support for access patrons every season. We currently offer Relaxed Performances, Live Audio Described performances that include a pre show Touch-Tour, Live Captioned performances, Integrated Sign Language performances and we always identify shows that are Deaf Friendly [access page link]. 

We are especially proud of our Relaxed and Audio Described performances as we have a role within the Front of House department called an Access Assistant who acts as a personal usher to any access patrons that would like some additional support or guidance. Our Front of House team itself is also Access-Friendly thanks to our Usher+ scheme. 

Full details of our access provisions are here

What is Usher+?
We have several ushers with additional needs working within our Front of House (FoH) team. The Usher+ scheme is an in-house support system for those ushers. 

How does Usher+ work? 

SS: Our FoH ushers have received additional training and guidance to allow them to support ushers on the scheme and form a buddy system. These pairs work together during the same shifts and have pre and post shift meetings.  During these meetings, they discuss the responsibilities of the day and complete a log about aims for the shift or reminders from a previous shift and how the shift went with discussions around potential areas of improvement. Both ushers have separate responsibilities and the support usher does not shadow or follow, they are just there as back-up if the usher needs them at any point.  We have found that this hands off approach really helps to develop a sense of confidence for the usher. 

What a brilliant process! How did Usher+ come about? 
SS: A few years ago we employed an usher that came to us through an Access to Work company who needed a support worker to chaperone them during the journey to work and the shift itself. We found that the support worker was preventing the usher from feeling part of the team and that the support worker wasn’t actually able to assist with shift responsibilities as they didn’t work for us. I decided to bring that role in-house so that the person supporting knew the building, the roles and the usher they were assisting. It made a huge difference almost immediately and the team really bonded.  



How many Ushers do you employ under the scheme? 

SS: We currently have seven ushers with additional needs on the team and four of them are supported by the Usher+ scheme. 

What are the outcomes of the scheme?
SS: A happy and confident Front of House team that can provide the best possible customer service to our wide range of audience members. 

How has the scheme evolved since you started it?
SS: The usher who came to us with the external support worker is still working within the team but no longer needs a support usher. The usher was part of the scheme for two years and now feels confident enough to work the various roles within the team without the extra support. This usher has never worked anywhere without support before and we are extremely proud of their journey with us. Some of the ushers on the scheme will always be on the scheme so we don’t set out with this goal in mind but when it happens it’s a huge achievement for everyone involved.

What has the feedback on Usher+ been so far?
SS: We always receive great feedback from the families of the ushers with additional needs about the boost in their confidence and independence quite early on in the process. We also hear from members of the public and they observe and appreciate that the team is very diverse and praise us for that. The team feedback regularly and love the system we’ve created. We wouldn’t be who we are without this system and its participants.

What sort of challenges does the scheme present?   
SS: Due to the nature of the scheme it does rely on ushers who are willing to receive the additional training and then to be willing to support their team mates on a daily basis both on shift and sometimes in a pastoral way too. Luckily we have a great team and that hasn’t ever been an issue. 
 
What aspect of the scheme are you most proud of? 
SS: The daily teamwork and service the group achieve by working and supporting each other. We are particularly proud of the success stories and the real difference that the scheme has made to those that participate in it. 

What advice would you give to those who may want to apply?
SS: Keep an eye on the jobs page on the Unicorn website! 

What advice would you give to other venues who may want to start something like? 
SS: Just do it! It’s not difficult to set up and there is funding out there to help. Your team will thank you for it.
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My Father, Odysseus, Interview with Timberlake Wertenbaker

 

Timberlake grew up in the Basque country near Saint-Jean-de-Luz. She was Arts Council writer in residence 1983 and Resident Writer at The Royal Court Theatre 1985. She is the recipient of numerous awards including an Olivier Award and the 1990 New York Drama Critics Award for Our Country’s Good and a Writers’ Guild Award for Three Birds Alighting on a Field. Her productions include: Jefferson’s Garden, The Ant and the Cicada and The Love of the Nightingale (RSC); Jules et Jim, Our Ajax (Southwark Playhouse); The Line (The Arcola Theatre); Galileo’s Daughter (Theatre Royal, Bath); Credible Witness, The Break of the Day, Three Birds Alighting on a Field, Our Country’s Good, The Grace of Mary Traverse, Abel’s Sister (Royal Court Theatre); Ash Girl (Birmingham Rep); After Darwin (Hampstead Theatre).



1) Why did you want to write a version of The Odyssey now? What are the main themes or questions you are exploring?
Purni (Artistic Director of the Unicorn) suggested it to me and I thought it would be interesting because there are a lot of children and young people whose fathers are fighting somewhere on one side or another, for one thing or another. The first four books, called the Telemachus Books, and the last few books deal with Telemachus much more than Odysseus and are very much about a boy coming of age and having to face all this, being without a father and finding his father again. All of that interested me and it seemed to me that it was a contemporary story as much as it was a story set in ancient Greece.

Odysseus has all these adventures and he’s also missing for twenty years. So it’s the missing father and the father himself who is facing his own monsters difficulties and a son and a mother left at home not knowing where he is. This is so common now.

2) How much is it a play about war?
Odysseus has gone to war for ten years and has then been missing for ten years, but it’s not specifically a war play, it’s about absence in all ways because Odysseus himself isn’t quite sure who he is or what’s happened to him and he’s always telling stories – well I don’t want to get too much into that because that is my interpretation. It’s about absence and longing and the search for the father
and the father not knowing what’s happened to his son. It’s about the consequences of war, let’s put it that way.

3) In writing the play for the Unicorn, which is primarily for a young audience aged 11 and above, how has that affected the way you approach the writing?
It hasn’t really. I have written The Ash Girl for a younger audience and as far as I’m concerned a younger audience is equally intelligent, equally able to enjoy theatre and I’m just writing what I enjoy writing really and that’s it. If it’s completely impossible then someone will tell me, but I completely trust that age group, well I trust any age group really. I think children are completely capable of absorbing anything and if they don’t want to absorb it then they don’t. I used to take my daughter when she was aged four to Shakespeare and she was completely interested. She didn’t get everything obviously but you know. I’m simply trying to not make a big thing of that, well obviously two of the characters are young, but that’s about it. 

4) Can you talk a little about your process of writing? In particular how you move between Homer’s Odyssey and your play My Father, Odysseus – the process of adaptation.
I think it would be a bit misleading to call it an adaptation of The Odyssey, it isn’t really an adaptation, it’s a kind of reaction to The Odyssey, a parallel universe really. Obviously I’m very aware of and I know The Odyssey and I’ve been reading it again and I’m just trying to be really free and let it come in. I think it permeates in the way that all these stories permeate - you’re always influenced by something and in this case it’s obviously a very strong influence because it’s Homer and powerful stuff. I’ve used the story, but it’s very free and it just isn’t an adaptation.

The Odyssey is obviously the starting point and I use quite a bit of it, but I think this play is set in no time, because in theatre, it can be so many times at once. That’s what interests me about the theatre. And these stories are told in so many different ways and mean different things at different times.

5) How many drafts would you generally do?
I do a lot of drafts, it depends how it goes, sometimes you’re closer to a final draft and sometimes you have to do quite a lot of work. I tend to try and get a sense of the whole thing and then go back to it and then find I’ve made a complete mess of it and start again. 

I think different writers work in different ways, I think some writers do that in their heads but I tend to do it on paper; I work through a lot of drafts. What I’ve noticed when I look back on things is there will be bits that will really stay the same throughout and there are bits that change. It’s a cliché that writing is re-writing and I think that’s very much the case for me. I mean playwriting is a kind of excavation, you know looking for something. It’s like going into an underground city; you hit a bit and then you hit a bit somewhere else and then eventually you’ve actually got what you were looking for. Sometimes you hit in a more exact spot and sometimes you’re really quite far away and it takes a while to get it. You don’t know until the end, until you’ve got this city, then you know what’s going on. 

6) As you are writing do you imagine how it will look and feel on the stage, or is there a big gap between what you present to the director and what is then realised?

It’s very difficult because I sort of go between the actual thing that I’m imagining, let’s say a Greek island somewhere, or a place in London, or it could be the same thing at once. Then also the sense of the stage. I never write stage directions, or very, very basic ones. But I do imagine it, but I also like to leave it to the director to find a way through it and sometimes I don’t want to be prescriptive. I mean it’s interesting on stage, people come on and people go off and that’s really terribly interesting and that’s what I work on; when they come on, when they come off, what they’re doing. So I do imagine them on the stage. But beyond that I don’t imagine very much.

I might give some possible stage directions, I don’t mean stage directions, instructions, if people are going to do something on stage then I’ll suggest it, but if a director decides to do it in a different way that’s fine.

7) Can you tell us about the form of your play, are you writing in verse?
I wouldn’t call it verse. It has rhythm and it’s not naturalistic, it’s not naturalistic dialogue. I break up lines on the page quite a lot, I want that line to have a half breath, so when you look at it it looks quite broken and that’s really an indication for the actors to have a little moment, just for them to see that there’s a slightly different thought. It’s to give the actors a sense of the rhythm and the pace of it. But that’s it. The last thing I would call myself is a poet. But I don’t write naturalistic dialogue either.

8) What do you hope the audience will take away?
I think we need stories and I hope they will just take away the sense of, an interest in, the story and if they then want to go back to Homer then that will be great. It would be lovely if the people who came to see it got an interest in The Odyssey itself I mean I remember coming across it, I don’t remember what kind of version, at 11 or so and being very interested and taken with it because I didn’t really know much about it. It’s really not for me to say what the audience take away; it’s for me to do the best I can and for them to take away something. 




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The Captain’s Fund in Memory of Petrus Bertschinger

 

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (Central) and the Unicorn Theatre are pleased to announce the establishment of a memorial fund in honour of the late Petrus Bertschinger.  At the request of Petrus’s family, donations are being sought for The Royal Central School of Speech and the Unicorn Theatre to create a memorial fund in his name.

Petrus Bertschinger (1961-2015) was a long-standing member of the Central community from his time as a student in the 1980s to his most recent role as Senior Lecturer in Technical and Production Management at the School.  He graduated from Central in 1984 and had 32 years professional experience as stage manager, production manager and theatre consultant including Production Manager for Matthew Bourne’s Adventures in Motion Pictures, and ten years with Unicorn Theatre for Children.

Petrus was passionate about the Unicorn Theatre’s journey to becoming the UK’s leading professional theatre for young audiences. He was instrumental in making this happen by providing his expertise as a production and technical director to the building of our current home on Tooley Street.  His hard work and dedication ensured that the theatre built would be able to provide a first rate theatrical experience to young audiences. Petrus was also dedicated to Central and its technical production and stage management training. The Captain’s Fund will support students following either the Technical Production Management or the Stage Management courses at Central and at the Unicorn to enabling children from disadvantaged communities to experience the magic of theatre.  

Petrus took me for a tour around the Theatre site when I had my interview in 2005 – his deep passion and love for the Unicorn was instantly obvious. It was only when I started to work at the Unicorn that I fully realised how instrumental Petrus was in fulfilling our vision of making theatre specifically for young audiences. Petrus truly believed in the Unicorn and dedicated many years of his life to the company. As I walk around the Unicorn Theatre now, Petrus is ever-present;  his influence and the impact on those he met is still much felt, at times it feels like his very essence is in the walls.’  - Carolyn Forsyth, Producer at the Unicorn Theatre.



We welcome donations of any size. Proceeds will be split equally between Central and the Unicorn Theatre.

HOW TO DONATE

Donate Online
Donate to us today through the Central's secure online donation service.

Donate by Phone
To make a gift over the telephone using a credit or debit card, please contact the Central's Department of External Affairs on +44 (0) 20 7449 1636.

Donate by Cheque
Send a cheque made payable to ‘The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’ to:
Meg Ryan, Head of Individual Giving & Alumni Relations
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Eton Avenue
London
NW3 3HY

Please make clear when donating that the gift is for The Captain’s Fund and remember to download and send Central this Gift Aid Declaration form. Using Gift Aid means that for every pound you give, an extra 25p from HM Revenue & Customs is gained, helping your donation go further. This means that £50 can be turned into £62.50. It makes a real difference and it doesn’t cost you a thing.

10% of gifts total sum raised will be allocated to administrative costs. 90% will go to the beneficiaries
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Making of the Minotaur mask

 

We caught up with Alexandria Kerr, Prop Maker and Scenic Artist for Minotaur. Keep reading if you've ever wondered how props are made.

Unicorn: How do you usually come up with ideas?
Alex Kerr (AK): Coming up with ideas is usually my favourite part of a make. Each project is unique, so it’s essential to understand the visual language of the production before you dive in. The designer is the guru of visual language for every production. Sometimes a designer will have a very specific outline for the props and other times it can be more of a collaboration. You may only have a vague concept to start you off so you have to pull images from a variety of different sources and whittle them down into a design that feels right. I’ve always found that the only way to develop and communicate a design effectively is through visuals- throw as many images at it as you can and see what sticks! Sketch, pull pictures off the internet, magazines and books, take photos of pavements and walls (textures are oddly inspiring), make miniature versions of props out of paper and tape, experiment with different materials, pollyfilla, paint…Eventually you’ll find a design and method that works. However, it’s essential to remember your parameters: 1) Will it fit with the overall design of the production? 2) How will it be used and is it functional for this purpose? 3) Is it achievable in the time scale we have? and 4) Will it be achievable within our budget? These limitations are often the biggest challenges to overcome. But, in my experience, the best ideas are always born out of a need to overcome a specific problem.

Unicorn: Where did you seek inspiration for Minotaur
AK: The starting point for this project was the original gold ‘origami’-style mask that I designed and made for the publicity. Louie Whitemore, the designer for this production, was influenced by the shape of that mask but wanted to take it to another level. We discussed the overall story, the production design and how the mask would figure in. It’s important to consider what impact the prop should have - especially given how central it is to the performance and the performers who wear and interact with it. I came away from that meeting with words like ‘origami’, ‘industrial’, ’texture’, ‘rust’, 'blood’ and ‘brutal’ floating around in my head and a few design images and sketches to give me a solid starting point. Of course, with a prop that has to be worn, the other challenge was to develop something that would also be comfortable and fit seamlessly into the actor’s performances… 


Unicorn: What materials did you use for the Minotaur’s mask?
AK: The base material for the mask is most commonly referred to as ‘Plastazote’. It’s a kind a rubber foam that yoga mats are made of and comes in all colours, thicknesses and densities. It’s a very common material for puppet making because it’s strong, flexible, paint-able and light. As I mentioned, the Minotaur mask had to be comfortable to wear so as not to hinder the performer in any way. Therefore, It was essential that the base material be made of something strong and light, especially since I’d need to use many layers of heavy plaster, paint and wire on top to achieve the kind of texture and colour that Louie had provided in her reference images. I spent a lot of time experimenting with different materials to make sure it appeared ‘crumbly’ and ‘chalky’ without being fragile to handle or easily damaged. Pollyfilla can be a cheap way to achieve this but, depending on the type, can dry quite rubbery or brittle. Specialist acrylic modelling paste will last much longer and you can always add sand for more texture, as I did here. It was also important to Louie that the audience be able to see a ‘shadow’ of the performer’s face underneath the mask so it was essential that I found the right kind of mesh to use for these ‘see-through’ sections. In the end, the most effective material turned out to be plastic guttering mesh- it’s amazing what a good paint effect can do


Unicorn: Describe the mask for the audience in three words:
AK: Angular. Corroded. Menacing.

Unicorn: That sounds very cool. Could you describe a typical day for you?
AK: For me, no two days are the same. Each project is different and has different demands on my time. When in the throws of a design or make, I spend many an hour at my desk, working furiously with a pen and paper, computer and tablet, getting more and more covered in paint or plaster, working until my eyes get crossed and I’ve forgotten to eat lunch! Sometimes I’ll spend hours or even days out and about, sourcing different materials - it helps when you’ve been doing this for a while, knowing all the best places to find weird and wonderful things. I’m also often working at odd hours. Overnight paint calls are common for scenic artists as it’s the only time the stage is clear of people long enough for the paint to dry. Then, once you’re finished one project, you’re constantly lining up the next thing, editing photos and updating your website. Hey, at least it’s not predictable

Unicorn: Wow! That sounds intense but fun. So how long does designing a prop or set usually take?
AK: The time scale often depends on the complexity or significance of it in the overall scheme. We were lucky enough to be given two months of prep time to develop the Minotaur. It was to be such a significant part of the production that we needed as much time as possible to make sure it was right. We also knew that the performers would benefit from having a prototype to use for rehearsals. This isn’t always the case and sometimes it can be a rush to get things made on time, especially if it's a production with many different complex props and a tight budget. 
 
Unicorn: How did you become a set designer and prop stylist?
AK: I studied Design For Performance at university simply because I had a history of writing and storytelling but loved to be creative and make things with my hands. I’d always been fascinated by theatre, film and literature and how much storytelling informs culture. I was interested in the complexities and collaborative nature of making work that would be seen by an audience. So, theatre, along with all the challenges of live performance, seemed like an obvious choice. For me, it was a chance to tell stories visually. After graduating I started out designing small productions to develop my portfolio and made connections with some wonderful creatives and performers. Making props was something I started doing almost by accident- I was asked to make something while I was assisting a designer and found that I loved working on something in such detail. 

Unicorn: What’s the best thing about your job?
AK: Honestly, I love the challenge. Because no two projects are ever the same, there are always new and interesting elements to overcome. I love the unpredictable nature of it and knowing that everything I create is unique. Best of all, is that feeling at the end of a project when everyone’s hard work comes together and makes this wonderful thing that so many people get to see and appreciate. 

Unicorn: What does it feel like to see your work being used ‘live’ and onstage?
AK: One of the first props I ever made was a matchstick house for a production of Elling at Trafalgar Studios. It was about the size of a large shoebox and during each performance, it had to be spectacularly smashed on stage and then magically re-built in front of the audience. I made it using a complex system of magnets, over 1000 matchsticks… and who knows how many hours?! I remember sitting in the audience at press night and feeling dizzy from holding my breath the entire time it was on stage. I was utterly and irrationally terrified that it was going to disintegrate every time someone touched it, simply because the audience was in and the pressure was on! So, I suppose you could say that seeing your work on stage is equal parts pride and fear. Every single element in a production, from the props to the set and the performers themselves, are there to serve the story and deliver it to the audience. If it doesn’t work for the story, then it doesn’t work. Period. So, seeing something you’ve created, even a tiny little piece in the collaborative puzzle, is thrilling because you know you've helped it to work.

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SPRING TERM NEWS FOR TEACHERS

 

Five exciting news items from our Schools Relationship Manager, Ella. 

1. HOW DO WE MAKE A SHOW AT THE UNICORN?
We've created an informative and entertaining film that is full of interesting information about how a show is created. Includes behind-the-scenes footage from our show Baddies: the Musical and interviews with the Artistic Director, writer, designer, technical team and The Big Bad Wolf himself!

2. WHAT DO TEACHERS SAY ABOUT US?
Need to convince you SLT that a trip to the theatre is worthwhile? We’ve compiled five testimonies from teachers who we know very well about the huge impact a theatre visit can have on pupils. Download Making a Difference in Schools

3. NEW TEACHER RESOURCES
You can now download new versions (complete with in-depth classroom activities) of Minotaur and My Father, Odysseus so that you can explore the shows back at school and really make the most of your visit.

4. WHO ARE JERAMEE, HARTLEBY AND OOOGLEMORE?
Find out about this fabulous, funny and seaside themed new show for children in Nursery – Year 2 from acclaimed director, Tim Crouch. A production that is particularly suitable for EAL children or those new to English. Watch the film.

5. KEEP IN TOUCH
Sign up to our teacher mailing list for termly information about our shows, free tickets for teachers and other opportunities for schools. We won’t share your details with anyone else.
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Star in our new brochure cover shoot and trailer

 

Do you love the Unicorn Theatre? Would you like to take part in a photoshoot for our next season brochure cover and season trailer? 

Outline:
The cover will be a party in which the adults are sat at a table and the young people are under the table having their own fun...

We need:
Young people (6mths - 18 years – a mix of girls and boys) wearing own clothes.
Adults (18+ men and women) wearing own clothes. Only your legs will be visible.

Where: Unicorn Theatre
When: Fri 19 Feb
Time: 11am – 2pm photoshoot 
         Lunch break
         2 - 3pm interview filming where we’ll ask you to talk a bit about why you love the Unicorn.
You will need to be available for the whole session.
 
If you are interested in taking part please email marketing@unicorntheatre.com with the following information by Monday 8th Feb:

- Age
- Male/Female 
- Attach a recent photo
- Confirm availability for Fri 19 Feb
- A few words about why you love the Unicorn
- Contact details
 
As a thank you for taking part, you’ll receive 2 free tickets for a show in our 2016 Spring Season and we’ll send you photos from the shoot. There will also be refreshments provided on the day.

We will get in touch with you by Friday 12th February. 

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THU 8 OCT: ARE CENSORSHIP AND SELF-CENSORSHIP TAKING PLACE IN THE UK RIGHT NOW?

 


In September this year, Index on Censorship published its guidance on staging controversial theatrical productions. This followed its extensive work on art and offence. It was also hot on the heels of the cancellation of the National Youth Theatre’s planned production of the new play about religious radicalisation in the classroom - Homegrown and coincided with the UK premiere of Martyr by German playwright Marius Von Mayenburg, which overlaps in subject matter.

In light of these events, and following a performance of their joint production of Martyr, on October 8, Actors Touring Company and Unicorn Theatre are hosting a debate around free-speech, tolerance and extremism.

Martyr
, which opened to rave reviews two weeks ago, tells the story of a schoolboy who decides to become an ‘extremist’ Christian, and his subsequent clash with his radical secular school teacher. In so doing, the work considers how far one should go in accommodating another’s beliefs and when it is right to take a stand for one’s own opposing values.

Homegrown was a play that sought to explore Islamic radicalisation among young people in the United Kingdom. Its creators claimed that “the subject matter of this play, its immersive form and its staging in a school required us to go beyond our usual stringent safeguarding procedures”. Apparently worried by the “creative and personal development of the young people” involved, the National Youth Theatre took the decision to cancel the show.

Discussion panel will feature:
• Nadia Latif: (Director, Homegrown - a recently cancelled National Youth Theatre production that sought to explore Islamic radicalisation among young people); 
• Moazzam Begg (ex-Guantanamo detainee and Director of Outreach CAGE);
• Rev Giles Fraser (priest, former canon St Paul’s Cathedral and columnist);
• Julia Farrington (associate arts producer, Index on Censorship).
• The event will be chaired by Gabriel Gatehouse (Foreign correspondent for BBC News) and Purni Morell (Artistic Director, Unicorn Theatre)

8 October 2015 8.45pm
Following the performance of Martyr by Marius Von Mayenburg (free with a ticket to the show)
After the talk there will be free live music in the foyer and a 3 for 2 offer on craft beers.

Book for Martyr now
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