Unicorn theatre appoints Rachel Bagshaw

The Unicorn children’s theatre in London has announced their new Artistic Director.

Rachel Bagshaw will take up the post in September 2023, replacing Justin Audibert, who announced in January that he is moving to Chichester Festival Theatre as their new Artistic Director.

Bagshaw has been the Unicorn’s Associate Director since 2018, and is also an Associate at the National Theatre.

Her work for the Unicorn includes Roland Schimmelpfennig’s The Bee in Me and a re-imagining of stories from Aesop’s Fables, co-directed with Justin Audibert. Upcoming projects include I Wish, created with Le Gateau Chocolat and Seiriol Davies, with other stage credits including A Dead Body in Taos (Fuel), Augmented (Sophie Woolley/Told by an Idiot), Midnight Movie (Royal Court), and The Shape of the Pain (China Plate/BAC).

Rachel Bagshaw said in a press statement: “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking up the role of Artistic Director at the Unicorn. Having had the privilege to have been an Associate Director here during Justin’s tenure, I cannot wait to continue bringing the brave, bold and exciting work to children and their grown-ups. The Unicorn is a vital, inspiring theatre that provides thousands of children with their first theatre experiences each year, and where I have had some of my most creative and happiest times as an artist. I look forward to working with the incredible team, including the young Creative Associates from our partner schools and community groups, to support artists to develop and thrive in making work for young audiences. Most importantly, I am so honoured at the opportunity to hold conversations with the Unicorn’s extraordinary audiences and spark their imaginations and ideas through theatre.”

Chair of the Board, Dr Vanessa Ogden, said: “I am very pleased to appoint Rachel Bagshaw as the Unicorn’s next Artistic Director and joint CEO. In recent years, Rachel has played an integral part in the Unicorn as an Associate Director. She has an inspiring imagination and an emotional and intellectual intelligence which has been seen in the work she has already created here. She is passionate about creating vital, electrifying work and challenging theatre-making for children that aligns with the best we see on the adult stage. I am greatly looking-forward to this next chapter in the Unicorn’s growth knowing that Rachel, together with Co-Executives Bailey Lock and Helen Tovey, will build on Justin’s legacy, placing the values of inclusion and celebration of diversity at the heart of all we do.”

Outgoing Artistic Director, Justin Audibert, said: “I am delighted that Rachel will be taking over the artistic directorship of the magical creature that is the Unicorn Theatre. She is an artist of exceptional brilliance, a human being of wisdom and compassion, and I have no doubt she will be a visionary leader. This appointment will thrill both the team at the Unicorn and the wider industry, and I cannot wait to see what magic Rachel and the team create. Rachel eats, sleeps and breathes the Unicorn’s mission of transforming young lives through theatre. Audiences are in for such a treat under her stewardship.”

Currently playing at the Unicorn is Squirrel, until 2 July 2023, and The Invisible Man, to 18 June 2023.

The production of The Tempest – Re-imagined for everyone aged six and over, playing at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre from 30 June to 22 July 2023, will run at the Unicorn from 19 September to 15 October 2023.

📷 Main photo: Rachel Bagshaw - Unicorn Theatre. Photo by Annabel Moeller

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