HRH The Duchess of Cornwall Visits the Unicorn

We were thrilled to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to the Unicorn on Wednesday 6 February as we celebrated the launch of our new Glorious Grandparents patron scheme.  

A keen supporter of the arts, the Duchess of Cornwall became a Patron of the Unicorn in 2005. She joined other high profile Unicorn supporters from the theatrical world including Joanna David and Charles Dance in a special ceremony hosted in our theatre foyer.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Dr Michele Badenoch and Charles Dance. Photo credit Craig Sugden

The Glorious Grandparents scheme celebrates the joys in Grandparents and Grandchildren sharing a trip to the theatre. By supporting the scheme and becoming a patron, grandparents can also enjoy a range of special events and activities with their grandchildren that are exclusive to the scheme. Patron levels range from £125 - £5000 per year. 

Justin Audibert, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and Joanna David. Photo credit Craig Sugden

As a registered charity, we need to raise £500,000 a year to reach 90,000 children with our programme of extraordinary theatre and workshops. As well as creating theatre for children of all ages we offer 10% of our tickets free, or heavily subsidised, to schools and community groups so that everyone can enjoy our shows. The Glorious Grandparent scheme directly supports our work and will enable us to create opportunities for even more children. 

Glorious Grandparent Ambassador Dame Judi Dench says:
'Glorious Grandparents is a fantastic idea. I have always believed that children should be taken to the theatre at a very early age. I was taken by my parents and that's what inspired me. My grandson is now 21 - he goes to see everyting in the theatre! I'm sure this is because we took him when he was young!

If you would like to join or simply would like to find out more, contact us at or call us on 020 7645 0527.

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Fingers Crossed for the Off West End Awards!

We are excited to have four shows shortlisted at this year's Off West End Awards. 

Our shows are shortlisted in the below categories:

Best Production for Young People 0 – 7:  Not Now, Bernard and Huddle

Best Production for Young People 8+: Beginners

Best Production for Young People 13+: The End of Eddy

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 3 February 2019, held at Battersea Arts Centre. Keep your fingers crossed!

See the full shortlist here or find out more about the Off West End Awards here.   

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Free Theatre-Making Workshop

Aged between 14 and 18? Do you like to perform and enjoy collaborating with others? If so, we need you. 

We are looking for young people to join writer and performer, Polarbear and director, Yael Shavit for a practical theatre workshop at the Unicorn Theatre this Saturday 19th Jan, 2 – 5pm.

This will be a fun one off session of improvisation, character work and experimenting with scenarios as they share their process and tips for developing your own theatre piece.

Steven Camden (Polarbear) is one of the most respected spoken word artists in the UK. Regularly performing his work internationally since 2007.

Yael Shavit is a director and dramaturg who has worked with Steven for over ten years on all his performance pieces as well as directing and collaborating with many other artists and companies.

Last few places remaining – if you would like to join this workshop please email or phone 020 7645 0509 to book a free place.

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Beginners triumphs at the Writers’ Guild Awards

Amalia Vitale as Sandy in Beginners at Unicorn Theatre

We are thrilled that writer and director Tim Crouch has won a 2019 Writers’ Guild Award for his play Beginners, which premiered at the Unicorn in Easter 2018.

The Writers’ Guild Awards celebrate British writing and writers. 2019 marks their 60th anniversary, and a special ceremony was held at the Royal College of Physicians in London to reveal this year’s winners on 14 January. We are delighted that Beginners won the Best Play for Young Audiences award. 

The play is published by Oberon Books and can be found in our Unicornershop. Beginners premiered with a cast of five adult and eight child actors (two teams of four children on rota) in Easter 2018, playing for ages eight to adult. It tells the story of three families trapped in a waterlogged holiday cottage over summer. It is an exquisite, funny and moving story that reminds us that the adult we’ll become – and the child we were - stays with us wherever we go. 

Everyone at the Unicorn would like to say a huge congratulations to Tim and thank you for bringing this unforgettable play to our theatre. 

Find out more about Beginners, or read the full list of Writers' Guild Award winners

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Meet Mole from It's Hot, It's Not

Mole Wetherell is the Artistic Director of performance theatre company Reckless Sleepers, and a colloaborator and performer in our upcoming show for ages 2 - 5, It's Hot, It's Not.

Find out about his plans for this fun and playful show in this interview excerpt from our teacher resource pack. 

It's Hot, It's Not
plays from 2 Feb - 10 Mar, tickets are £10 - £16. Visit the webpage for more info and to book.   


I’d say it will be a lot of fun. It’s got this undercurrent about the weather, and of course we can’t ignore what’s happening to the world and to the weather - but I don’t think that’s what we want to explore. The way we see the show is that it’s a play on words, or a play on images. It’s about the language and objects sometimes not making complete sense together, but of course they always make sense. 
One of the focuses is about play, and playing with objects, and reimagining what an object can be. We played this game the other day with a stick where the stick became a cricket bat or a tennis racket; that one object had a completely different set of scenarios around it - an interpretation of an image and a multiplicity of ideas of what it could be. We then repeated the activity using movement instead of objects, starting with a gesture like a wave that could then become something bigger like fanning yourself because you’re hot, and then the fan becomes a kind of rain dance. So we see someone doing an action but then make it bigger and make it into something else. So it’s playing around with and reinterpreting physical language, which is the basis of the show so far.


We’ve never made a show specifically for a younger age group. We think that our theatre shows have been quite accessible to children, because they are generally quite visual and allow scope for ideas and imagination rather than narrative-based story or complicated psychologically based characters.
It’s more about an energy or a feeling as the emotional route through the work, and often it’s focused around task: the task to build this, or the task to destroy that. So our work is quite open to a wider age range.


A bit of both! I trained as a visual artist, and what has been brilliant about having a child is going back to some of those simple drawing techniques I learnt when I was a student: simple things like squeezing paint onto a piece of paper, folding it over and getting a butterfly.
We’ve got a table in the kitchen and underneath it there’s an outline of my daughter Charlie. We take the top off every now and again and do another outline. It’s a bit like a tree ring; that’s a really nice little project in itself. She’s testing me as a young person to make new things. I’ll be busy this afternoon making a little table out of some wood for her doll, and making a little chair! It was Charlie jumping in the puddle and me joining in, and enjoying that process and allowing myself to enjoy it. I enjoy playing with that age group, they’re liberated at that age.
Image: It's Hot, It's Not (That's Mole in the yellow raincoat!)


It’s felt like spring is tending to happen earlier and there are freaky weather conditions. That’s what drew me to making a show about the weather and our confusion with that, and nature’s confusion with that. Daffodils are coming up much earlier than they used to. It’s those things that really struck me as something we needed to tackle and that can be extended to talk about global warming, without talking about global warming.
I think what we try to do as a company is open up an idea for imagination to grow – we never go “This show is about this”, in doing that, it kills that possibility of growth of imagination. We call it the playground of the imagination: not just for us, the people making the show, but for the people we are sharing the room with. 


The set will be a big tree, or trunk, with apples on strings; some of them will be switches, and if you pull an apple, it might switch a light on. Pull another apple and it might start a rain storm, pull another apple and get sound – it could be a thunder storm. So we want to play with how sounds makes an action, makes a sound, makes an action. It’s accumulative. Someone comes in and switches the light on because it’s dark, and I switch it back off, they switch it on, I switch it off, switch it on, switch it off... It’s that repetitive action; if someone jumps in a puddle when they are four years old they don’t want to leave it. It’s like with my daughter – I switch the light off, she turns it on. I switch the light off...

It's Hot, It's Not is for ages 2 - 5 and plays from 2 Feb - 10 Mar. Tickets are £10 - £16. Visit the webpage for more info and to book.

This interview exceprt is taken from our It's Hot, It's Not teacher resource pack. The full interview and other resources can be read below: 

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We are looking for parents and babies to take part in a photoshoot for Baby Show, our much-loved show for ages 6 - 18 months.

When: Fri 16 Nov 2018 1.15 - 2.30pm (arriving by 1.15pm, the show begins at 1.45pm)
Where: Unicorn Theatre

Baby Show iour gentle, sensory show which has now played to over 4,000 giggling babies. The Baby Show experience begins as soon as you step into our theatre. At the photoshoot, our photographer will be present as parents and babies arrive and relax in our private Baby Show Welcome Lounge before the show begins. The Welcome Lounge has lots of comfy seating, high chairs and bottle warming facilities and a pop-up Unicornershop serving drinks and refreshments.

You will receive a free ticket to the show (one child and one adult) and are welcome to a complimentary hot drink from the Unicornershop. Additional adults are welcome to join (one adult guest per person). By taking part you will be giving us permission to use the images for marketing purposes. Watch the trailer below to get a feel for the show or find out more about the show here. You can also download our handy first visit guide here

If you would like to take part, please send us your contact details and a recent baby photo to by Tue 13 Nov 2018. We are looking for 10 - 12 babies with mum and/or dad. 

'I appreciated the meet and greet by the friendly staff, showed to a chill-out room on the 2nd floor which was perfect for my baby to crawl about in and me to relax. The 20 minutes before the show hanging out with my baby and other parents was part of the experience for me (especially after a long train journey) which I wasn't expecting.' Parent 2018

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Q & A with an Irish Dancing World Champion

In preparation for our upcoming Summer workshops we spoke to Tanya Dirrane, an Irish Dancing World Champion to find out more about her two-day Irish Dancing and Ceilidh Fun workshop taking place next week.

Can you describe the workshop in 3 words?
Fun, Energetic, Fulfilling.

What is the difference between Irish dancing and Ceilidh dance?

Irish dancing is traditionally a dance form whereby you dance solo keeping your upper body still and requires full use of the legs. You stand upright with your arms placed down by your sides with your hands held in a fist position.
Ceilidh dancing is a form of social dance; it is performed in groups and allows the use of arms. It was initially formed in Ireland as a form of entertainment before the days of television, people used to meet on the crossroads and perform various Ceilidh dances. It was a way of the community meeting up and was a very popular social event.
Recently, Irish dancing has evolved due to Irish Dance shows such as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance meaning that arm movements have now been introduced allowing more freedom in the choreography.

What main skill will the children learn in this workshop?

I think the main skill children will learn in this workshop is making social connections, although children learn a lot of skills in Irish Dancing such as: rhythm; timing; musicality; co- ordination; balance; core strength; increased stamina; flexibility; muscle strength and overall fitness (I could go on…).

Do you need to have experience for this workshop?

You do not need any experience to attend this workshop, which is the beauty of Ceilidh dancing! It requires no former experience and caters for all abilities.

How long have you been dancing and teaching for?
I was initially a ballet dancer from the age of three and then joined an Irish dancing class at the age of 12 mainly because I was inspired by the type of music. I also thought it looked like a fun skill to learn after watching my friend perform. I became hooked instantly and by the time I was 14 I had qualified for my first World Championships. I have been teaching for 25 years now having set up my first class in 1993 in East Dulwich, South East London.

What is your favourite thing about Irish dancing?

My favourite thing about Irish dancing is it makes me very happy. We release endorphins when we exercise but I firmly believe you release additional endorphins when you Irish Dance due to the exhilarating and energetic nature of the art form.

Don’t miss out on learning something new this Summer, book your place today:
When: Thu 16 - Fri 17 Aug (a two-day workshop)
Where: Unicorn Theatre
Who for: Children aged 6 – 11 who are up for a challenge, making friends and having fun!
More info and book now >

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The End of Eddy Cast Announcement

Our upcoming production of The End of Eddy has been cast. 

My crime wasn’t doing something. My crime was being something. Being different in a way everyone else could see.’  

Stewart Laing directs Alex Austin and Kwaku Mills in The End of Eddy, Pamela Carter’s powerful new work, based on
Édouard Louis’s best-selling book, in this co-production between the Unicorn Theatre and Untitled Projects.

The End of Eddy will open as part of the Edinburgh International Festival prior to a run in London at the Unicorn. It will also tour the UK and Ireland with dates to be announced shortly. 

Alex Austin Performer
Alex's credits include, for the Unicorn Henry V, The Nutcracker, How to Think the Unthinkable, The Man with the Incredibly Smelly Foot. Other credits include most recently A New And Better You ( The Yard), Gundog, Grimly Handsome, Primetime 2017, Yen, Pigeons (Royal Court), Thebes Land (Arcola); Fury (Soho); Barbarians (Young Vic) and The Skriker (Royal Exchange, Manchester). Television includes The Interceptor, Sherlock, New Tricks, Misfits and Holby City. Film includes A Moving Image, The Hooligan Factory and The World’s End.

Kwaku Mills Performer
Kwaku has recently graduated from the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts. Credits whilst training include; Raleigh in Journey’s End, Ward in Women Beware Women, Benjamin in Easter and Colin Powell in Stuff Happens. He will be making his professional debut in The End of Eddy.

Stewart Laing Director
Stewart is a Scottish theatre director. He is Associate Director with National Theatre of Scotland and is Artistic Director of his own company, Untitled Projects, which he formed in 1998. Directing credits with Untitled Projects include J.G. Ballard Project, blind_sight, Slope, An Argument About Sex, The Salon Project, Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified
Sinner and Slope Redux. Other credits include The Maids for Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Ten Plagues for Traverse Theatre, Titus Andronicus for Dundee Rep, The Sewing Group for Royal Court, and most recently, Creditors for Lyceum in Edinburgh. Stewart is currently directing David Sawer’s new opera The Skating Rink for Garsington Opera. Stewart originally trained as a theatre designer at Central School of Art and Design in London and has worked extensively as a theatre designer throughout the UK and internationally. He has designed for the West End and Broadway, winning a Tony Award in 1997 for his work on the musical Titanic. Recent design credits include work for The Old Vic in London, The Park Avenue Armory in New York and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

Pamela Carter Writer
Pamela is a playwright and dramaturg. Her plays include Lines ( The Yard Theatre, London); Fast Ganz Nah/Almost Near ( Theater Dresden, Germany); Skåne (Hamptead Theatre; winner of the New Writing Commission at the Berliner Festspiele Stückemarkt in 2012); What We Know ( Traverse Theatre); Wildlife (Magnetic North Theatre Co); The Last of Us (Play, Pie & a Pint). Her plays for Untitled Projects include Slope (2006 and 2014); Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner, 2013; and An Argument About Sex (After Marivaux) in 2009. As dramaturg and writer with Vanishing Point Theatre, she has made the award-winning Interiors (touring internationally since 2009), Saturday Night, and Tomorrow.

Age guide: 16+ (contains explicit sexual references and frequent use of strong language) Duration: Approx 1 hr 30 mins
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We are looking for young people to take part in a photoshoot this Saturday 10 March between 10am – 2pm at the Unicorn Theatre (147 Tooley St, SE1 2HZ). 
The photos will be used to create posters for shows in our new season and be used only to promote the Unicorn’s shows. If you would be interested in taking part, please email your name, email, phone number and name and photo of the young model to by 5pm Wednesday 7 March.

You may need to bring your own clothes for the shoot and have some spare clothes with you (but you won’t need to buy anything – where needed we will purchase items of clothing and props) – once selected for the shoot we will be able to give you more information about what is needed.

You will not be needed for the full 4 hours and a schedule will be sent out with timings by Friday 9 March, at the latest. 

Every person who takes part will be entitled to a free family ticket (up to 4 tickets) to a show of their choice over the next 12 months. There will be some light snacks and drinks at the shoot and Helen, the Unicorn’s Director of Marketing, will be managing the shoot. 

We are looking for the following people:
Where clothing is mentioned and is specific, we will provide an appropriate outfit or have a chat about what you already own that could work.

Teenagers / young adults
  • Young woman (any ethnicity) aged around 17 - 25 years – will have a prop axe and possibly be wearing moss green velvet dress
  • Young afro-Caribbean woman aged around 17 – 25 years – will be wearing a red cloak and dark clothes
  • Young man (any ethnicity) aged 16 – 22 years – will have prop sword and be wearing ordinary jeans, big crown logo on t-shirt or cap
  • Young woman (any ethnicity) with very long dark hair aged around 17 – 25 – will be wearing a tunic / simple, one or two colour dress or outfit 

Younger children
  • South American / Asian young girl around 9 years - will be wearing a hooded coat and sunglasses
  • Afro-Caribbean boy or girl around 8 – 12 - will be wearing jumper and trousers, maybe with a Christmas twist
  • Young girl (any ethnicity) around 8 – 12 – will be wearing t-shirt / jumper and trousers / skirt and maybe be sat on a stool and be asked to look very bored

If you would be interested in taking part or have any questions, please email your name, email, phone number and name and photo of the young model to by 5pm Wednesday 7 March.
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The Unicorn Theatre is delighted to announce the appointment of Justin Audibert as the company’s new Artistic Director. Justin will take up the position in summer ’18, taking over from Purni Morell who steps down as Artistic Director this spring after nearly seven years in the role.

Justin Audibert said, “Under the leadership of Purni and Anneliese, the Unicorn has flourished as one of the most innovative, provocative and international theatres in the UK. It has become a crucible of experimentation, not afraid to ask the most difficult questions about how we live in an ever changing world. I feel privileged to be building on this wonderful legacy and can’t wait to work with the brilliant team to make the Unicorn a creative home for the most talented artists working in theatre today. Above all else though, I feel incredibly excited and honoured to be leading our inspirational audiences on what I am sure will be an exhilarating journey of discovery, to imagine other possibilities and to explore new worlds.”

Justin’s most recent directing credits include The Box of Delights for Wilton’s Music Hall in Christmas 2017, and for the Unicorn Theatre Chris Thorpe’s searing adaptation of Beowulf and Holger Schober’s My Mother, Medea. In February Justin will open The Winter’s Tale in his new version for young audiences at the National Theatre, and August ’18 sees him directing Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s Snow in Midsummer for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which he originally premiered at the RSC in 2017. Justin’s programme for the Unicorn’s stages will kick off in May 2019.

His other directing credits include Macbeth (National Theatre, UK Tour), How Not To Live in Suburbia (Soho Theatre), The Man With the Hammer (Theatre Royal Plymouth, The Drum), Flare Path (UK Tour), Hamlet (The Watermill), Beached (Soho Theatre), Wingman (Soho Theatre), Unscorched (Finborough Theatre), A Season in the Congo: Parallel Production (Young Vic), Wrong ‘Un (Red Ladder), The Coventry Mystery Play (co-directed with Greg Doran, RSC), Future Regrets (Live Theatre Newcastle) and Company Along the Mile (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

Alongside his wide ranging directing work, Justin wrote and presented the BAFTA nominated BBC Live Lessons on Shakespeare for younger audiences and he has taught and directed widely at universities and drama schools in the UK, the US, China and Brazil.

John Langley, Chair of the Unicorn Board said, “Justin is well known to the Unicorn through his recent productions of Beowulf and My Mother, Medea. It is difficult to think of two classic works of literature that in recent years have spoken so vibrantly and without condescension to audiences of young people. As Chair of the Unicorn, I am thrilled to welcome him to the team; as a theatregoer, I am intensely curious to see the work his directorship will bring us. Above all, I am confident that Justin’s range of experience and radical vision will take all of us who love and value the Unicorn to exciting new places in the years to come.”

Justin Audibert was an undergraduate at the University of Sheffield before going on to receive his MFA in Theatre Directing at Birkbeck, University of London, in 2008. Following early roles on placement at West Yorkshire Playhouse and Assistant Director at the RSC, he has directed numerous productions. In 2012 Justin was the recipient of the Leverhulme Award for Emerging Directors from the National Theatre Studio. He directed The Tempest in London and New York as part of the cultural Olympiad in 2012, and assisted Greg Doran on the opening programme for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 2010. Other notable credits include the European premiere of Gruesome Playground Injuries by US playwright Rajiv Joseph in 2013 at the Gate Theatre, and The Jew of Malta for the RSC in 2015 starring Jasper Britton.
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