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London's finest kids' theatre
This light, bright children's theatre has two performance spaces and an increasingly formidable reputation. Over her eight years at Unicorn Theatre, its previous artistic director Purni Morell reenergised the venue with a boldness rarely associated with this sort of work. She's made astute use of the Unicorn's hefty ACE grant, bringing many 'grown-up' playwrights and directors on board to offer fare that's routinely praised by forward-thinking theatre buffs.
The Unicorn's new artistic director Justin Audibert looks set to keep the theatre's programming in similarly forward-looking shape: he's been behind a run of successful kids' versions of classic stories, as well as directing work for adult audiences at the RSC.
Today, Unicorn Theatre sits in a modernist concrete-and-glass building in London Bridge that has two separate performance spaces, and is full of quirky flourishes, including scratchy wall illustrations, a piano, and a kid-tempting range of snacks sold at its Unicornershop. But it's only been in situ there since 2005. Unicorn Theatre's history stretches right back to 1947, when it was known as Mobile Theatre, a theatre company that toured post-war Britain bringing performances to culture-strapped young people.
There's still a seriousness to its regular programming, with shows tackling gory Greek myths, exploring opera, or bringing in the most exciting experimental theatremakers around. But the venue also comes into its own with its joyful string of hit Christmas shows, as well as long-running favourites like 'Baby Show', which gets the next generation of theatregoers started very, very early.
Find more shows for kids of all ages with our guide to children's theatre in London
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