Interview with Sair Smith, winner of the competition for ‘Balancing Acts’ by Nicholas Hytner, talks about Wild Life FM, creating theatre for young audiences and upcoming shows at Unicorn theatre

Sair Smith, winner of the last competition we ran on our blog is an Events Producer at the Unicorn Theatre. As per her twitter bio, she loves cheese and sleep, which we believe is an awesome combination of things to love. We had a little tête-à-tête with her, keeping in with the tradition of featuring winner interviews on our blog. She has talked about current projects, challenges of creating work for young audiences and some exciting shows at Unicorn Theatre – a delightful read indeed.

Wild Life FM

Wild Life FM. ©Hugo Glendinning. Click on the image to know more.

Tell us about the projects you are working on currently
Recently I’ve been working on finding and casting young, London based musicians and performers to be in one of our new 17/18 season shows. It’s a collaboration we’re super excited about, between us, arts centre CAMPO (Before Your very Eyes, Next Day, Five Easy Pieces), and Norfolk & Norwich Festival. We’re still accepting applications if you know anyone suitable! Apply here
Wild Life FM  will be an honest, raw exposition of what it’s like being young today. This show is not going to be what you expect. It’s not a play. It’s not a gig. It’s also both those things.

Challenges faced when creating theatre for young audiences
We face the same challenges as all the other brave companies out there trying to make work, host visiting companies, support new writers, provide community projects and run a building. We don’t really think of the costs, staffing or scheduling challenges unique to a theatre for young audiences. The Unicorn was founded by Caryl Jenner as a touring company in 1947 with a commitment to giving children a valuable and often first ever experience of quality theatre, and a philosophy that ‘the best of theatre for children should be judged on the same high standards of writing, directing, acting and design as the best of adult theatre’. Today, we’re the UK’s leading professional theatre for young audiences, dedicated to inspiring and invigorating young people of all ages, perspectives and abilities, and empowering them to explore the world – on their own terms – through theatre. We strive to push the boundaries of imagination in everything that we do; welcoming families, schools, and young people for unforgettable theatrical experiences that will expand horizons, change perspectives, and challenge how we all see and understand each other.

The last theatre show you watched
The last performance I watched outside of the Unicorn was Salome at the National Theatre.

What you like about Carl’s website
Great content, interesting interviews and a helpful resource.

Your favorites from the summer line up of shows at Unicorn Theatre
I’m looking forward to Double Double Act in June. We’ve teamed up with Made in China, who have been exploring the format of a comedy duo, an adult double act and child double act try to take control of the stage; they joke, mirror and test each other, they reverse roles and they subvert expectations. The production meetings have been filled with hints of slapstick humour and a lot of green slime, it sounds like it’s going to be a clever and surprising performance that will offer a chance to see the world through each others’ eyes. I’m also a firm fan of our all year round piece called Baby Show  , watching a 6 month old baby in the midst of a real belly laugh is mesmerising. I also quite enjoy watching the parents get so emotional when that happens. It’s a brilliant sensory performance that has captivating images and intriguing sounds that keep little ones rapt. We’re definitely looking after our future audience with this one!