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Unicorn Theatre announces Purni Morell's last season for Autumn and beyond

Season preview

THE Unicorn has announced plans for Autumn 2018 and beyond.

Highlights include: the stage adaptation of Édouard Louis’s international bestseller The End of Eddy; Philip Wilson’s acclaimed adaptation of Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales for Christmas; an iconoclastic new commission with Het Paleis (Antwerp) by Lies Pauwels; two new productions based on Aesop’s Fables; and an opera with former Artistic Director Purni Morell directing Dido in a co-production with English National Opera.

Based on the book En Finir avec Eddy Belleguele by Édouard Louis, adapted by Pamela Carter and directed by Stewart Laing, The End of Eddy runs from Thursday, September 13 to Saturday, October 6.

The production will open as part of the Edinburgh International Festival prior to a run at the Unicorn and will then tour the UK with dates to be announced shortly.

Born into poverty in an isolated village in rural France, a boy grows up amongst hard men and women living hard and violent lives. Bullied relentlessly for being gay, this is the story of Eddy’s struggle to understand who he is, who he might become, and of his fight to escape.

Written when he was just 21 and combining vivid storytelling with frank reflections on sexuality, class and power, this new stage adaptation of Édouard Louis’s autobiographical novel is filled with hope, love, lust and anger.

Full casting and tour details to be announced shortly.

Age guide: 16+ (contains explicit sexual references and frequent use of strong language). Running Time: 1 hour 30 minutes.

Conceived and created by Polarbear, Mouth Open, Story Jump Out runs from Tuesday, September 18 to Saturday, October 27.

Polarbear makes things up: stories, jokes, adventures – he’s a master maker-upper. But where did it all begin?

Mouth Open, Story Jump Out is about the moment that started it all, and how one little decision set off a chain reaction that changed his life forever. International assassins, secret codes, dog-eating boa constrictors and more emerge when a father disappears and a boy discovers a talent for telling tales.

Mouth Open, Story Jump Out is described as an inspiring show about the creative potential inside all of us by one of the UK’s most respected spoken-word artists.

Age guide: 8 – 11. Running Time: 1 hour.

Created by Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis and directed by Sarah Argent, Baby Show is ongoing from Tuesday, September 25.

Baby Show gently explores the fun to be had in getting ready to go outside. Following the success of Scrunch and Seesaw, Baby Show (back for a third run with dates throughout the year) is a musical and sensory performance with captivating images and intriguing sounds that keeps eager, curious young minds rapt.

Age guide: strictly 6 – 18 months. Running Time:: 40 minutes (including 15 minutes of play at the end).

With concept and direction by Lies Pauwels, Truth or Dare, Britney or Goofy, Nacht und Nebel, Jesus Christ or Superstar runs from Friday, October 19 to Sunday, October 21.

Lies Pauwels brings together seven young adults who all have emotional or psychological vulnerabilities, three super-models and one priest. Together, we explore the demons we wrestle with, as individuals and as a world.

Pauwels’ work is challenging, perceptive and authentic. In this piece, she pushes the boundaries of truth just that little bit further, creating a world in which nothing is obvious, yet everything is recognisable.

Age guide: 16 – adult. Running Time: Approximately 1 hour 50 minutes.

Created and directed by Michai Geyzen, On The Road runs from Tuesday, October 23 to Sunday, October 28.

Some people feel at home wherever they are. Others spend their whole life looking, wandering, longing for a place to put down roots and call ‘home’. But what exactly makes a home, what does it mean?

On The Road is a wordless story told using sound, dance and movement to explore what it feels like to be a refugee and the universal need we have to belong.

Age guide: 6 – 12. Running Time: 50 minutes.

Adapted for the stage by Philip Wilson and directed by Kirsty Housley, Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales runs from Tuesday, November 13, 2018 to Sunday, January 6, 2019.

Enter a world of powerful witches, enchanted forest creatures, careless parents and fearless children as they embark on adventures full of magic, gore, friendship, and bravery.

But beware, because like the world, these gleefully dark and much-loved tales won’t be quite what you expect…

Age guide: 8 – adult. Running Time: Approximately 2 hours 10 minutes.

Huddle by Filskit Theatre runs from Tuesday, November 13, 2018 to Sunday, January 6, 2019.

During the long, cold winter, Mr Penguin carefully guards his egg. Now this new dad needs to look after his newly born chick on his own and he’s not feeling confident. How will father and baby work it out together?

Huddle is a ‘gorgeous, engaging and highly visual’ new Unicorn commission by Filskit Theatre, the makers of Breaking the Ice (2015), whose signature style features playful and innovative projection and sound.

This is a heart-warming tale about a child and parent learning how to thrive in spite of the odds.

Age guide: 2 – 5. Running Time: Approximately 50 minutes.

Directed by Toby Hulse and designed by A Line Art, Ready Steady Colour’s Christmas Feast runs from Saturday, December 15 to Thursday, December 27.

This is a Christmas alternative from A Line Art with their unique brand of interactive arts and musical theatre for the whole family.

Take a seat at our make-believe Christmas restaurant, choose your ‘food’ and colour it in. And while you’re decorating your plate with cranberry red paint, salt and pepper glitter and bread sauce glue, the restaurant’s waiting-staff will entertain you with comedy, music and storytelling.

Age guide: 3+ (for all the family). Running Time: 55 minutes.

Written by Katrin Lange, translated by Purni Morell and directed by Cressida Brown, Icarus runs from Saturday, January 26 to Sunday, March 10, 2019.

Here, where pleasant cottages stand colourful in the friendly village and a gentle breeze wafts through the air, children play in the square laughing and shouting – but Icarus, oldest son of the builder Daedalus, does not play with them. He sits looking out over the sea and thinks about his father.

The country that the Mother and the Brothers and Sisters live in has fallen off the edge of the world – while across the sea King Minos builds his kingdom. What can one boy do against injustice? Will he save his father? Will he save himself?

Age guide: 8 – 12. Running Time: Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

It’s Hot, It’s Not by Reckless Sleepers runs from Saturday, February 2 to Sunday, March 10, 2019.

It’s Hot, It’s Not is a new work for the Unicorn by doyens of European performance Reckless Sleepers, whose work sits somewhere between visual art, dance and theatre.

This surreal, funny and carefully crafted physical performance explores the weather in all its forms and takes delight in discovering the world anew and how we experience it differently, wherever we are.

Why is it that sometimes I’m hot but you’re cold? Why are there puddles and sometimes not? How can it be sunny and rainy all at once and also not at all? And if it’s summer here, why is it winter there?

Age guide: 2 – 5. Running Time: Approximately 50 minutes.

Created and directed by Jetse Batelaan and originally devised with cast members Martin Hofstra and René Geerlings, The Show In Which Hopefully Nothing Happens runs from Thursday, March 21 to Sunday, April 28, 2019.

Originally created in the Netherlands, this carefully crafted, absurdist masterpiece of hope, humour and failure by Jetse Batalaan is remounted with the Unicorn featuring a UK cast.

Welcome to the most boring show in history: an actor who never gets to perform and a security guard who just hopes nothing will occur.

Age guide: 6 – 10. Running Time: Approximately 1 hour.

The Polar Bears Go, Go, Go! by Eilidh MacAskill and Fiona Manson runs from Tuesday, March 26 to Sunday, April 28, 2019.

Join the two very loveable but slightly hapless Polar Bears on their holiday adventures. Will they ever reach their destination? Or are they just going around in circles?

Have your ticket ready, find your seat, fasten your seatbelt and anchors aweigh – take off and go, go, go!

The much-loved Polar Bears return following two hit shows at the Unicorn. The pair creates smart, sharply observed comic performances for younger audiences.

Age guide: 2 – 5. Running Time: : Approximately 50 minutes.

Directed by Purni Morell and conducted by ENO’s Valentina Peleggi, Dido runs from Saturday, May 11 to Sunday, June 2, 2019.

English National Opera and the Unicorn join forces for the very first time to create a new production of Purcell’s powerful and emotional masterpiece, Dido and Aeneas, for teenagers and adults.

Belinda is the only child of Dido. A teenager like any other, in any big city. We watch through her eyes as her mother – heroine, feminist icon, modern parent – slowly starts to fall apart, with tragic consequences.

This contemporary production, sung in English, will be an incredible first experience for some, and for others a chance to see a familiar and much-loved opera in a new light.

Age guide: 11 – adult. Running Time: Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

Directed by Justin Audibert, Aesop’s Fables runs from Sunday, June 16 to Sunday, August 4, 2019.

Incoming Unicorn Artistic Director Justin Audibert directs a series of eight newly commissioned plays based on the classic tales. They will play in repertory to two age groups. Commissioned writers include Chris Thorpe; Somalia Seaton; Kaite O’Reilly; Naomi Iizuka; Chris Goode; Kim Noble; and E V Crowe.

As far as it is known, Aesop was a slave and storyteller who lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BC. But although little is known of the man himself, over 725 of his stories remain – passed down from generation to generation.

The Unicorn will be presenting two productions of these enduring stories; one for ages 4-7 and one for ages 8-12.

Accompanied by events and workshops, this is a celebration of young and old, ancient and new – a tribute to how fresh, bold and vibrant the classics remain today.

Age guide: 4 – 7 and 8 – 12. Running Time: Approximately 1 hour.

For more information or to book tickets, call the box office on 020 7645 0560 or visit