Theatre News

Justin Audibert announces first season at Unicorn Theatre

The new artistic director has announced 12 shows from September to June

Justin Audibert
Justin Audibert
© Craig Sugden

The new artistic director of the Unicorn Theatre, Justin Audibert, has announced his first season in charge of the venue.

The line-up includes 12 shows which are focused around the theme of thinking about our future.

Audibert said: "In my first year at the helm of the Unicorn, I want us to engage in an open and honest dialogue with our audience. Onstage, the offer comprises 12 productions for everyone from 6 months and upwards. The overarching theme of the season interrogates how the world is and challenges the audience to imagine how it might be different.

"In recent months, young people have left their schools to protest, to have their voices heard, to let us know how we've failed them. This year, we will be speaking directly to our young audiences – about the Climate Emergency, about their access to the arts and about how we can serve them better."

Theatre makers Slung Low open the season with 15 Minutes Live, a one-off family experiment with seven writers making six new short, radio-style plays. The writers included are Olivia Poulet with Laurence Dobiesz, Katherine Jakeways, Nima Taleghani, Kenneth Emson, Eve Nicol, and Nina Segal. The pieces will be recorded on the afternoon of the 8 September and will be free to download on the Unicorn's website.

The new season at the Unicorn Theatre
The new season at the Unicorn Theatre
© Hugo Glendinning

Audibert will direct Anansi the Spider, about mythical mischief maker Anansi in the Clore Theatre from 18 September to 27 October. Running in celebration of Black History Month, the piece is for 3 to 7 year-olds.

The award-winning novel Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner is adapted for the stage by Jemma Kennedy in a production which runs at the Unicorn from 26 September to 27 October. Jesse Jones directs the piece, which is for 9 to 13 year-olds and set in a sinister 1950s Britain, that has spies everywhere.

In November, Audibert will direct an adaptation of Oscar Wilde's 1887 comic novel The Canterville Ghost in a production for everyone aged 7 and over. It runs from 10 November to 5 January 2020.

Picture book The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse is being adapted for the stage for 3 to 7 year-olds by Jack McNamara. The work runs between 15 November and 5 January 2020 ahead of a UK tour.

In the Foyle Studio Scrunch, created by Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis, will run between 27 November and 22 December. The show is for babies aged 6 to 18 month and looks at all things present related.

The Bee in Me by Roland Schimmelpfennig will run between 31 January and 1 March 2020. Rachel Bagshaw directs the UK premiere of the piece, which focuses on an ordinary boy, on a day when everything changes. It is for ages 8 to 12.

Tim Crouch returns to the Unicorn with I, Cinna (The Poet), a piece which offers an introduction to Julius Caesar for young audiences. It will run between 5 and 29 February and will be directed by Naomi Wirthner and will be performed by Crouch.

Jonathan Swift's enduring book Gulliver's Travels will be adapted by Luly Raczka and directed by Sam Yates between 15 March and 3 May 2020. The show will blend film and live performance and is for everyone aged 7 and over.

Wild is theatre company How It Ended's retelling of Emily Hughes' picture book, which uses puppetry, sound and movement to tell the story of Wild, who lives in the forest. The piece runs between 17 March and 3 May.

Robots are the focus of the new piece Robotology, by Sarah Argent and Guy Rhys, which runs between 19 May and 21 June 2020. The sci-fi inspired show is for audiences aged between 4 and 7 and looks at what makes us human.

The theatre's piece The End of Eddy, based on the book by Édouard Louis will also tour to New York, as part of the Next Wave Festival this autumn.