Unicorn Theatre for kids

South Bank, London

The first purpose-built theatre for children.

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Thanks to the internet, X-Box 360s and CBeebies, a trip to the theatre ranks in most kids' wish list somewhere between listening to grandad's stories and and finishing their homework. Perhaps theatre productions have themselves to blame.

Pantomimes are too childish; adaptations of popular kids books aren’t always suited to the stage and the literary classics are often just too booooring. With short attention spans and lively imaginations, kids expect to be wowed in their seats. And then there's The Unicorn Theatre at London Bridge, an establishment that puts on an average of 620 live performances a year, all aimed squarely at kids.

So what's their secret? They know what works to keep kids interested, and the ensemble casts do more than just put on plays; with workshops, special events and an inclusive atmosphere the idea is to get the audience involved. To make sure things are doubly fresh, the Unicorn also mixes things up by hosting touring companies.

Recent productions from Denmark, South Africa and Japan have all whipped up a storm, using drums, puppets and fireworks to full effect. So turn off the TV, and take the kids to the Unicorn, home to one of the oldest art forms in the world. We guarantee they'll thank you at the end of the day, even if you have to coax them to the car by the ear.

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