Two new in-house productions and five shows by visiting theatre companies make up the Unicorn theatre’s spring season 2009.
Following current seasonal show Sleeping Beauty, the spring line-up at the South London children’s theatre kicks off with the first of the two new Unicorn productions created by the theatre’s permanent ensemble. The Cat Who Ran (12 February to 8 March) is adapted from Japanese author Naoko Kudo’s fable about a cat who forms an unlikely friendship with a fish. When the cat is challenged to do what comes naturally to him, that friendship is put to the test.
The second Unicorn production, William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, comes at the end of the season, running from 8 May to 7 June. Unicorn Associate Artistic Director Rosamunde Hutt, who previously directed the hit show Duck!, directs this production of the Bard’s much-loved comedy, intended for theatregoers aged ten and over. Using the original verse and suffused with song, the production aims to introduce new audiences to Shakespeare.
In between the two new productions, the Unicorn welcomes a quintet of visiting theatre companies. Following Pilot theatre’s adaptation of William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies (25 February to 7 March), which visits the Unicorn as part of its 10th anniversary UK tour, comes Graeae theatre company’s Whiter Than Snow (11-21 March). Mike Kenny’s story, which ran at the Lyric Hammersmith last year, is a sharp, attitude-filled drama about a theatrical family’s attempts to stage Snow White. Graeae has built its reputation on creating disabled-led theatre, and Whiter Than Snow is fully accessible to deaf and visually impaired audience members.
The season continues with Theatre Centre’s production of Under The Bed (25-28 March), an adventure story for younger children, followed by Catherine Wheels theatre company’s adaptation of E Nesbit’s tale The Book Of Beasts (8-11 April). Puppet State Theatre’s The Man Who Planted Trees, which was a hit at the Unicorn last year, returns from 14-26 April, providing another chance to catch this environmentally-themed story.
Later in April, a trio of theatre companies from Scotland, Italy and the US combine to create a new production of JM Barrie’s story Peter Pan (15-19 April), which uses shadow puppetry from Italian artist Fabrizio Montecchi to help tell the story of Peter’s adventures in Neverland. Finally, another classic tale, Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, is recreated from 22 April to 2 May by Travelling Light.
Also this season, the Unicorn continues its commitment to creating work for young audiences with Text Lab (25 March to 5 April), a two-week session of workshops, performances and readings of new plays currently under commission by the theatre. All events are free to attend and further details are yet to be announced.