Kids: they love nothing better than a good night out at the theatre. Seriously - once the new Unicorn Theatre opens tomorrow they'll be dedicated fans - or should be anyway. Unicorn Theatre has been going since the 1960s and was the first theatre company for children to have its own theatre venue, the Arts Theatre in the West End. The company was so keen to make the space welcoming to children, they lowered the box office counter and altered the stage and auditorium so that smaller folk could enjoy the theatre experience without having to tiptoeor strain themselves. Still, it would have been nice to have a specially designed and specially built space for childrens' theatre and the idea came about for a dedicated new building in the 1970s.
Talks and initial planning for a new venue in Blackfriars started in the 1970s - for the kids who heard about it back then, they're probably at the right age to take their own kids to the new building on Tooley Street, part of the More London site around the GLA testicle tomorrow. It's always an exciting bit of news to get a new theatre for London, especially when you've considered the crumbling (and sometimes against Health and Safety Regulations) West End theatres with complete lack of disabled access and poor facilities for actors and audiences. It's an even more exciting piece of news to know that this new venue has been designed with kids in mind and with the consultation of children.
Why should anyone over 12 years old be excited about this new theatre? Well, it's purpose built for kids so they won't be obliged to kneel on seats to see the stage, they won't be banned from the bar and harrassed parents can be assured that when they take their complaining kids for a wee halfway through the performance, they won't be frowned upon for daring to bring their offspring to a performance. Theatre in London is amongst the best in the world and the earllier you can get involved and get excited about it the better. And where better place the new Unicorn Theatre? See you there for interval drinks of Kia-Ora and lemonade!
The Unicorn Theatre opens on 1st December. The first show in the main theatre space is Tom's Midnight Garden. For more information and to book, please go here.