During these extraordinary times, the Unicorn is responding with a new digital theatre project Unicorn Online – a fresh, innovative approach to making online theatre for young audiences during the building’s closure. Launching with Anansi the Spider Re-spun and streamed in partnership with The Guardian, this unique project brings theatre direct from the homes of the artist to the homes of the audience.
Each week from Sat 30 May, an online story of Anansi – the ultimate mischief-maker and master spinner of yarns – will be streamed for free on the Unicorn’s YouTube channel and The Guardian’s website. The show is aimed at ages 3 to 8 years.
There are three Anansi the Spider Re-spun episodes: Brother Anansi and Brother Snake – streamed on Sat 30 May, 11am and available on demand until Sat 20 June Anansi and the Two Dinners – streamed on Sat 6 Jun, 11am available on demand until Sat 27 June Anansi and the Pot of Wisdom – streamed on Sat 13 Jun, 11am and available on demand until Sat 4 July
Alongside the Anansi episodes, there will be free downloadable activities for teachers and parents and a free online workshop where viewers can learn a song from Anansi, send in a recording and feature in an online Anansi community choir video.
Justin Audibert has shaped three of the most popular stories from his 2019 production – Brother Anansi and Brother Snake, Anansi and The Two Dinners, Anansi and the Pot of Wisdom – specifically for an online audience. Working alongside film company Illuminations and featuring the original cast of Afia Abusham, Sapphire Joy and Juliet Okotie, each scene will be captured by them within their own homes and edited within the current pandemic restrictions, bringing each scene together with a live, spontaneous sense of performance. Using the technology available and celebrating the ‘at home’ nature of the filming and editing, the Unicorn aims to deliver a bold, fun and new way to tell stories that spark the imagination.
The Unicorn is currently closed to the public but its mission to engage, inspire and entertain young people remains vital. The theatre hopes to continue to serve audiences through Unicorn Online – its new hub for digital theatre experiences for children. Premiering with this innovative, digital-specific production, the Unicorn aims to support young people through this time of crisis when they are living with more physical rules, social limitations and personal frustrations than many will have ever experienced. The theatre will continue producing more digital projects over this time as a way to reach more young people across the city, as well as across the UK and beyond.
Unicorn Online has been made possible with the generous support of the Backstage Trust and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Anansi the Spider Re-Spun is streamed in partnership with The Guardian.