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A Q&A with… the Unicorn Theatre

Date Posted: 27/08/2014

We discover what one of the UK’s leading theatres for young audiences can offer schools from the Unicorn Theatre in London's schools relationship manager, Ella Macfadyen.

Q: What makes the Unicorn Theatre different to other theatres?

A: Every year we work with leading theatre-makers who understand that excellent work for children and teenagers should be of the same quality as excellent work for adults.

We create and programme shows for pupils in Early Years/Foundation Stage children right through to Key Stage 5 that are exciting, innovative, challenging and inspiring.

Our theatre was built with young people in mind, and it is important to us that we offer a space in which they are welcome and important.

We want pupils to interact freely with the building when you arrive and to have permission to respond throughout the performance, which means we don’t mind at all if they are quite vocal or energetic.

We actively encourage our audiences to laugh, respond, clap and cheer during our shows.

Q: How do you support teachers in preparing for a visit?

A: Our in-depth Teacher CPD training days, resource packs and practical in-school workshops are designed to support you in discovering the learning potential in our productions so that you can really make the most of your visit.

A visit to the theatre can stimulate meaningful learning across the curriculum, including:

  • Providing a rich stimulus for writing, particularly in engaging reluctant writers.
  • Opening up opportunities for speaking, listening, responding and collaborative group work.
  • Developing strong critical thinking, inference and deduction skills.
  • Increasing emotional empathy and the ability to think from different perspectives.
  • Encouraging an awareness of what it means to be an audience and an understanding of the process behind creating a piece of theatre.
  • Developing experienced, articulate and opinionated theatre-goers.

You can download resources from the schools section of our website. The website also has lots of interesting backstage information about our shows to get your pupils excited about their visit; look out for photos, video trailers and interviews with the directors.

Q: Is it possible to find out more about a production before booking?

A: Yes, we offer an allocation of free tickets for teachers for our press night performances – see the schools sections of our website for further information.

Q: How do teachers book?

A: You can book over the phone with the box office team on 020-7645 0560 or e-mail your booking to schools@unicorntheatre.com. You can then amend your booking up to eight weeks before your visit.

Standard tickets are £10 per pupil with one teacher free per ten tickets booked. We offer various ways to save and can also subsidise tickets for schools who face financial difficulties.

Our teacher CPD, resource packs and post-show Q&As are always free. The only additional things we charge for are in-school workshops and backstage tours.

Q: Do you have any performances for pupils with additional needs?

A: At the Unicorn, we strive to offer shows that are accessible to everyone. Visit the Access section of our website to find out more about relaxed, audio-described and integrated sign language performances.

Q: How do teachers find out more?

A: We know that forward-planning is important for schools, so we release details of all our new shows and teacher CPD in May for the following academic year. You can see this year’s schools brochures online here.

Our schools relationship manager, Ella Macfadyen, is always happy to chat about how we can work with your school. You can contact her on schools@unicorntheatre.com. Or come and meet the team and see the theatre at one of our free press night performances.

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