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Unicorn Theatre - Autumn 2014 and beyond

Something Very Far Away

Season preview

ARTISTIC Director Purni Morell has announced a new season of work for Autumn 2014 and beyond at the Unicorn Theatre, which celebrates new writing, new talent and new interpretations.

When I Think About the Universe I Laugh For No Reason, directed by Ellen Edwin-Scott and Emma Higham, runs from Thursday, August 28 to Saturday, August 30. For ages 11+.

What happened before the beginning, and before the beginning of that? Why couldn’t I speak for the first seven years of my life? If there is life after death, then what is the point of growing old?

It isn’t only philosophers who ask difficult questions. These eight teenagers have some questions of their own.

When I Think About the Universe I Laugh For No Reason is a devised piece of theatre from the Unicorn Young Company about what makes us who we are.

Running Time: Approximately 50 minutes.

Seesaw, by Stewart Melton, directed by Sarah Argent, runs from Saturday, September 6 to Sunday, November 2. For ages 2+.

Being little can be hard work. There are holes to dig, sand castles to make, treasures to find, adventures to be had. It’s much easier when you have a friend to help. But what if making friends is hard work too?

Seesaw explores the push and pull of friendship, and the ups and downs of being very young.

Duration: 40 minutes, followed by free play time in the sandpit.

Created by Julia Samuels with 20 Stories High Young Actors Company and directed by Julia Samuels, Tales from the MP3 runs from Thursday, September 11 to Saturday, September 13. For ages 13+.

Young people from the award-winning 20 Stories High tell each other’s true stories straight from their MP3 players. As they hear the words in their headphones, the performers deliver line for line to the audience what they are hearing – live.

Delivered with unflinching honesty, this group of teenagers discusses religion, sex, race, friendship and family. Boys and girls play each other and cultural identity is swapped, revealing challenging and insightful perspectives.

With live music, beat-boxing and projection, Tales from the MP3 is described as a distinctive and unique new play from one of the UK’s top theatre companies for young adult audiences.

Running Time: 70 minutes.

An Ailie Cohen Puppet Maker/Unicorn production, The Secret Life of Suitcases, by Lewis Hetherington and Ailie Cohen, runs from Thursday, September 18 to Sunday, October 12. For ages 4+.

Larry’s got no time for fun, but that’s all about to change…

Larry works in an office and he likes it very much. He likes sorting and tidying and generally putting things in order. Everything in its place, a place for everything.

But one day, a suitcase suddenly appears at his door. A suitcase with a tiny label. A tiny label with Larry’s name on it. And this suitcase has a mission…

Join Larry as his world is turned upside down by a fantastical flying suitcase in what is describes as a funny and enchanting new collaboration nominated for a Critics’ Award for Theatre in Scotland, with renowned Scottish puppeteer, Ailie Cohen (Cloud Man, The Man Who Planted Trees).

Running Time: 45 minutes.

With puppets, design and animation by Matthew Robins, Something Very Far Away, written, directed and with an original score by Mark Arends, runs from Saturday, September 20 to Sunday, September 28. For ages 8+.

Kepler is an ordinary man who loves two things beyond all others: the cosmos and his wife Tomasina. After a sudden and tragic loss, he looks to the stars for answers and journeys deep into space to keep the thing most precious to him alive.

Something Very Far Away is a moving tale of love, loss, space and time that uses puppetry, music, sound and live animation to create a unique and beautiful performance that will enchant children and adults alike.

This award-winning (Off West End Award winner 2012 – Best Young People’s Production) sell-out show returns to the Unicorn as part of an international tour.

Duration: 40 minutes.

How Nigeria Became: A Story, and a Spear That Didn’t Work, written and directed by Gbolahan Obisesan, runs from Thursday, October 9 to Sunday, November 9. For ages 8+.

It’s 1914, one hundred years ago exactly, and Nigeria is about to be formed. Herbert and his well-known troupe of female actors are preparing to stage a story for the British Governor and his wife.

The story of the Spear of Shango is about a brave young woman who must use her strength and agility to save her father’s kingdom. But there’s a problem, the story doesn’t quite fit with the governor’s vision of a united country…

This colourful and quick-witted production offers a creative insight into Nigeria’s beginnings in 1914. Written and directed by British Nigerian playwright Gbolahan Obisesan, How Nigeria Became: A Story, and A Spear That Didn’t Work commemorates the centenary of Nigeria as part of Black History Month at the Unicorn.

Running Time: Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

Presented by Dance Umbrella and the Unicorn, Triple Bill runs from Tuesday, October 28 to Wednesday, October 29.

This exciting new mixed bill of award-winning, international dance is for under 12s – and only under 12s! The show is not open to adults.

Adults/over 12s will be admitted into the matinee performance on October 28; all evening performances will be for under 12s exclusively. Parents, carers and older siblings are invited to take part in a range of foyer activities devised by Comber Grove Primary School while their children are watching the performances upstairs.

The work:

How to be Alone by Hege Haagenrud (Norway).

Hege Haagenrud is the most performed choreographer for young audiences in Norway. In this trio she uses text as well as movement to consider the ups and downs of friendship.

AP15 by Sébastien Ramirez and Honji Wang (Germany).

An inventive hip hop duet full of combative energy – an international hit, this duet was recently awarded a Bessie award in New York.

Far by Wayne McGregor/Random Dance (UK)

A resident choreographer of the Royal Ballet, whose company is resident at Sadler’s Wells, Wayne McGregor is known for his thrilling, fast and athletic style.

Triple Bill is part of Dance Umbrella Festival 2014.

Running Time: 1 hour 20 minutes.

Nosferatu runs from Thursday, October 30 to Sunday, November 2. For ages 8+.

A young lawyer named Hutter travels from his small town to the Carpathian mountains to close a sale for a mysterious count. Despite surprises and bad omens he encounters on the way, he continues his journey to the castle where he is welcomed by Count Orlock – someone who looks a bit like a bat but also a bit like a garlic clove.

That’s when things start to get scary.

Unconventional French theatre-makers, Bob Théâtre, return to the Unicorn for another Halloween full of humour, horror and an inventive use of light bulbs. Are you brave enough to meet our spooky storytellers?

Running Time: 60 minutes.

NB: There will be a special adult-only performance on Friday, October at 10pm (£16), with a pumpkin patch and creepy cocktails from 9pm (£5).

Girls Like That, by Evan Placey, directed by Esther Baker, runs from Thursday, November 6 to Saturday, November 22. For ages 13+. Contains strong language.

The problem with girls like that is they ruin it for everyone. The problem with girls like that is they give all girls a bad name..

A naked photo of Scarlett goes viral. Rumours spread across smartphones like wildfire and her reputation becomes toxic, threatening to shatter the fragile unity of the girls she has grown up with. But how long can Scarlett remain silent? And why isn’t it the same for boys?

Girls Like That is an urgent and explosive play that explores gender equality and the pressures on today’s digital generation.

Girls Like That is presented by Synergy Theatre Project, who work with prisoners, ex-prisoners and young people at risk of offending. This London premiére is performed by a company of professional and ex-prisoner actors.

Running Time: 1 hour 15 minutes.

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, by Annie Siddons, directed by Ellen McDougall, runs from Friday, November 21, 2014 to Sunday, January 4, 2015. For ages 8+.

This Christmas the Unicorn goes back to the roots of E.T.A. Hoffman’s magical story to create this wondrous and festive production of an old and favourite title.

It’s Christmas Eve, 1805. Seven year-old Marie retrieves the sad and broken Nutcracker from under the Christmas tree and promises to look after him. But on the stroke of midnight he comes alive, and after enlisting Marie’s help in his battle with the evil Mouse King, they journey together through strange and fantastical stories until they finally arrive in a secret land made of nothing but candy.

Full of magic, mice and adventure, this will be a Christmas show to remember.

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes (including interval).

The Fourth Wise Man, directed by Lee Lyford, runs from Sunday, November 30, 2014 to Sunday, January 4, 2015. For ages 4+.

Everyone has heard of the Three Wise Men, but have you heard of Artaban, the fourth?

One day Artaban, the wisest of them all, spots a beautiful new star in the sky. It’s the biggest and brightest star he has ever seen, and he knows it will lead him to something special. A special baby in fact, so special that everything (and that means everything) must be perfect.

Join Artaban as he prepares for a momentous journey. But what should he wear? What gift should he bring? And where on earth will he find the right camel?

A funny and heart-warming show about one man and an elusive camel, The Fourth Wise Man will leave audiences with a decidedly Christmassy glow.

Duration: Approximately 50 minutes.

Scrunch, created by Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis, runs from Tuesday, December 9, 2014 to Sunday, January 4, 2015. For ages 6 – 18 months.

There’s snow on the ground and lights in the tree, then scrunch, scrunch, scrunch… footsteps on the path – who can it be?

Ding, dong. Doorbell rings and there’s a present for baby, not to be opened until Christmas Day.The paper’s exciting – scrunch it, rumple it, crumple it… what can it be?!

Scrunch is an engaging, sensory show for babies aged 6 – 18 months (and their grown-ups) this Christmas.

Duration: 40 minutes, including 15 minutes play time.

Shows for 2015 to follow.