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Unicorn poised for £500k boost from Southwark Council

Southwark Council leader Nick Stanton and Sir Alan Ayckbourn have toured the Unicorn Theatre building site in Tooley Street as the council looks to contribute £500,000 to the unique theatre for children.

unicorn theatre
Unicorn president Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE; Unicorn Board Member and Southwark councillor Bob Skelly; Unicorn artistic director, Tony Graham; Riverside Ward councillor Eliza Mann; Council leader and Riverside Ward Cllr Nick Stanton. (photo:†Adrian Brooks)

The Unicorn is the UK's first ever purpose built theatre for children and Southwark Council is looking to contribute £500,000 towards its construction. Southwark Council's planning committee has already approved the funding in principle and will be considering a report recommending release of these funds on 15 March.

When the Unicorn opens in November it will provide theatre and education to over 100,000 children per year – many of whom will be from Southwark and the surrounding area. †Local children have already been involved; pupils from Southwark's Tower Bridge Primary School took park in a three-year consultation with architects to design the theatre.

Unicorn requires £1.3 million to reach its funding target of £12.8 million and is running a public appeal to enable local people to help contribute to the building and become part of its success. Southwark residents, schools, organisations and companies can purchase seats or bricks and have their name displayed along side celebrity supporters such as Dame Judi Dench and Emma Thompson, in the new theatre. Local people who want to find out more can contact the Unicorn on 020 7697 1150 or visit its website.

Unicorn is being built in Cllr Stanton's Riverside Ward. He was joined on site by Cllr Eliza Mann also of Riverside Ward; Unicorn board member and Southwark councillor Bob Skelly; Unicorn President, Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE and Unicorn Artistic Director, Tony Graham.

"Unicorn represents a significant cultural asset not only to Southwark but also the UK," said Cllr Stanton. "Having the theatre in borough means that all Southwark's children, schools and families will be able to directly benefit from its creation for generations to come."

Unicorn artistic director Tony Graham added: "Southwark Council's financial backing will be exceptionally helpful. †Unicorn has formed a close relationship with Southwark through our work with school children.†This relationship will grow once we open and we look forward to welcoming local people to the theatre."

Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE commented: "I hope the Unicorn will become the young person's equivalent of the National Theatre – a rallying point for children's drama and arts education and a national resource for all children."

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