KC Where Are You? On The Road
May 06, 2014
My quest to find the best performances for young audiences with a view to showcasing them at our own Festival took me to the United Kingdom in March. There l met with a number of theatre companies
and also had the pleasure of attending many live theatre performances for young audiences. I took my test market with me in the shape of my nieces and nephew, Sidney, Nancy and Lois. They loved the
shows and wanted to see them again. They also thought ice cream during intermission was “very cool.”
The two theatre?s l focused on were the The Unicorn Theatre
Both theatres produce and present year-round work for audiences ages 18 months ? 24 years.
The Unicorn Theatre
?The Unicorn Theatre was founded by Caryl Jenner as a touring company in 1947 with a commitment to giving children a valuable and often first-time experience of quality theatre, and a philosophy
that ‘the best of theatre for children should be judged on the same high standards of writing, directing, acting and design as the best of adult theatre’. Today, the Unicorn is the UK’s leading
professional theatre for young audiences, dedicated to inspiring and invigorating young people of all ages, perspectives and abilities, and empowering them to explore the world ? on their own terms ?
The Egg is a professional theatre dedicated to children, young people and their families. Built from the shell (get it?) of an old cinema in 2005, the egg has quickly grown into one of the leading
children?s arts organisations in the UK.
The theatre works with hundreds of schools across the region to explore, challenge and extend the role that arts venues can play in education. The egg is also home to the Theatre Royal?s highly
acclaimed Young People?s Theatre who produce several productions each year working with professional directors and technical teams.
I imagine there are many challenges associated with owning one’s venue but some of the amazing things these theatre?s both have are their own kid friendly cafes and play areas while waiting for
the performances. The Unicorn has a great reading area crammed full of books and has two theatres a smaller black box and a main stage theatre.
The Egg only has one space but they built their theatre so that it can transform into any configuration a Director may need.
They included youth and theatre professionals in the design process in order to build the most flexible space possible.
I watched a number of fabulous shows and met with many companies who produce exciting, creative and outstanding work for young audiences. All the companies l met with work from the perspective
that children?s work should be of the highest quality. Stay tuned, as some of this wonderful UK work will be gracing theVancouver International Children’s Festival
stages over the next couple of years.