The theatre, the artists, the media partners, and the funders.

Unicorn Online

A series of digitally created theatre experiences for young people from the Unicorn Theatre, created in collaboration with artists and media partners as a response to lockdown, and streamed for free to audiences across the UK and beyond.

The Unicorn is the UK’s leading theatre for young audiences, producing an eclectic and surprising programme of professional productions for children aged 6 months to 18 years. Based in a beautiful purpose-built home at London Bridge, but touring productions nationally and internationally, the theatre connects artists and audiences through shows that are created specifically for children by today’s best theatre-makers.

llluminations is an independent media producer and publisher, specialising in making and distributing films about the arts and performance.

The first Unicorn Online project, Anansi The Spider Re-spun, was streamed in partnership with The Guardian.

How did the collaboration come about?

The Unicorn Theatre’s ability to engage with live audiences, create work for children on our stages and curate exceptional cultural experiences for all has been severely restricted by the pandemic. Unicorn Online is a remote, digital and innovative response to the crisis which we hope will inspire the imagination of young people, both as a lifelong resource and in the immediate as a way of gifting freedom and developing a rich inner life when we are physically contained. We launched the project with Anansi the Spider Re-Spun, made with our film partner Illuminations and streamed in partnership with The Guardian.

What were the most important factors that contributed to the success of this project?

Response to need
Response to COVID-19
The ‘big’ idea
Combination of skill sets
Delivery of project
Social impact
Existing relationships
Available funding

Project funding

The theatre wanted to ensure they could remain a vital hub to all who depend upon us and to enable creativity amongst young people whilst we were in lockdown. However, they were also facing serious financial limitations with the theatre closed and the resulting loss of box office income. The Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Harriet’s Trust provided emergency funding towards a series of digital theatre projects that would enable them to continue engaging with young people and families whilst our theatre was closed. Anansi the Spider Re-spun and the wider Unicorn Online initiative has only been possible with the support of our generous funders.

Will the project continue beyond COVID-19 lockdown?

They have been delighted by the response to the digital projects so far, from audiences across the UK and beyond. They certainly hope to maintain a digital presence for the Unicorn Theatre beyond lockdown.