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Justin Audibert unveils first season as Unicorn artistic director

Unicorn artistic director Justin Audibert. Photo: Craig Sugden
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Justin Audibert has announced his first season as artistic director of the Unicorn Theatre, which includes a reimagined Gulliver’s Travels and adaptations of Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost and Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon.

Audibert took over the leadership of the theatre, which creates work for children and young people, last year.

The main stage season begins in September with an adaptation of the dystopian novel Maggot Moon. It is adapted by Jemma Kennedy and directed by Jesse Jones.

Anansi the Spider, created and directed by Audibert, will open the smaller space’s season. The production is aimed at three to seven-year-olds and is an anthology of West African and Caribbean stories brought to the stage in celebration of Black History Month.

Audibert’s inaugural season also includes a “radical” version of Gulliver’s Travels, written by Lulu Raczka and directed by Sam Yates, which runs from March 2020, and a new translation of German playwright Ronald Schimmelpfennig’s The Bee in Me, written by David Tushingham and Rachel Bagshaw.

Bagshaw is also joining the Unicorn as associate director, with Phosphoros Theatre becoming its first associate company. All of Phosphoros’ acting company came to the UK as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and refugees.

The company will be collaborating with the Unicorn on a major new programme that will work with unaccompanied young people aged 14 to 18 to use drama to “help navigate their place in a new community”.

Theatre company Slung Low will collaborate with the Unicorn on 15 Minutes Live, a series of 15-minute plays responding to the theme of the future, by writers including Olivia Poulet, Eve Nicol and Nina Segal.

Other new productions include an adaptation of The Canterville Ghost by Anthony Weigh, which will feature live magic and special effects, and picture book The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse, which will be co-produced with New Perspectives.

Theatremakers Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis have created a sensory show, Scrunch, for babies aged six to 18 months, while Argent will also collaborate with actor Guy Rhys on Robotology, which explores humankind’s future with robots.

Justin Audibert to replace Purni Morell at Unicorn Theatre

Season at a glance

15 Minutes Live by Slung Low
September 8

Anansi the Spider by Justin Audibert
Directed by Justin Audibert
September 18 to October 27, press night September 25

Maggot Moon by Jemma Kennedy
Directed by Jesse Jones
September 16 to October 27, press night on October 3

Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost by Anthony Weigh
Directed by Justin Audibert
November 10 to January 6, 2020, press night on November 20

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse by Jack McNamara
November 15 to January 5, 2020, press night on November 22

Scrunch by Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis
November 27 to December 22

The Bee in Me by Roland Schimmelpfenning
Translated by David Tushingam
Directed by Rachel Bagshaw
January 31 to March 1, 2020, press night on February 6

I, Cinna (The Post) by Tim Crouch
Directed by Naomi Wirthner
February 5 to 29, 2020, press night on February 12

Gulliver’s Travels by Lulu Raczka
Directed by Sam Yates
March 15 to May 3, 2020, press night on March 26

Wild by How It Ended
March 17 to May 3, 2020, press night March 25

Robotology by Sarah Argent and Guy Rhys
May 19 to June 21, 2020, press night on May 26

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