Shakespeare and Twain in Unicorn’s new season

Published July 6, 2012

Purni Morell’s second season as Artistic Director of the Unicorn theatre includes a younger approach to Shakespeare, a new adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Prince And The Pauper, David Greig’s Dr Korczak’s Example and a new work by E V Crowe.

Kicking off the new season is a unique adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Directed by Morell, A Winter’s Tale (19 September to 16 November) is a hilarious new play for seven to 10 year olds, which turns the Bard’s comedy on its head, exploring a world of petty jealousies and playground rites in which it’s always the servants who draw the short straw.

A Winter’s Tale is joined by a unique adaptation of another Shakespearean comedy, which will play later in the season from 3 October to 11 November. A one-man show for children aged 13 and over, Tim Crouch’s I, Malvolio explores self-knowledge, bullying and shame through the eyes of Shakespeare’s most pent-up steward.

Morell, who since arriving at the venue has been dedicated to pushing the boundaries in theatre for audiences aged 2 to 21, includes a show for adults in her new season. Conceived and directed by award-winning writer Chris Goode, Monkey Bars will play from 25 to 30 September and feature adults in adult situations speaking the words of children.

Award-winning playwright Greig’s Dr Korczak’s Example will play from 23 September. Aimed at children aged between 11 and 13, Greig’s powerful tale is set in the final days of an orphanage in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw, where food is scarce, tempers rise and everyone wants to survive.

Other season highlights include the intimate, magical production Handa’s Surprise (9 to 11 October), The Mysterious Vanishment Of Poppy And Dingan (30 October to 3 November), an adaptation of Ben Rice’s acclaimed debut novel about how one boy’s mission to save his family unites an outback opal mining community, and the classic tale The Elves And The Shoemakers (6 to 18 November).

Burning Bird, John Donnelly’s tale for children aged 14 and over, which is set against the backdrop of the London riots, plays from 14 to 17 November, an adaptation of Carol Ann Duffy’s The Tear Thief plays from 21 November to 2 December, and the Oily Cart and RSC co-production In A Pickle runs for a month from 6 December.

The festive period will welcome Twain’s classic tale of confused identities The Prince And The Pauper. The family show, which will play from 25 November to 13 January, tells the story of poor Tom Canty and how he comes to be mistaken for the young heir to the throne, Prince Edward.

In the New Year, the venue will host E V Crowe’s Liar Liar (31 January to 6 March). Best known for her critically acclaimed play Kin, Crowe’s latest work is a contemporary tale about a young girl who knows the truth can be dangerous.

Douglas Rintoul’s modern adaptation of the classic Persian and Arabian stories 1001 Nights (5 February to 17 March) and A Thousand Slimy Things (30 January to 7 February), which is based on The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, will play prior to The Present, Little Red… You Know Who!, Sensacional and Mouth Open, Story Jump Out, which takes the venue into March next year.