I Believe in Unicorns at The Old Court

Siobhan Newman

I Believe in Unicorns at The Old Court

Lose yourself in a good book, with the help of a powerful storyteller.

Tomas wants to be outdoors. He hates school, books and being dragged to the library by his mother.

But his world is turned upside down when he meets the librarian – the  Unicorn Lady–  and is spellbound by the tales she tells.

When war comes to the village, and the library is shelled, Tomas decides to save the books from burning.

Storyteller Danyah Miller brings Michael Morpurgo’s tale to life on stage.

“In 2010 my daughter, then nine, was in a storytelling club, she and her friends would share stories. One of those  was I Believe In Unicorns. I loved it and felt very connected to the unicorn lady who tells stories.”

Danyha, a renowned performer, created a theatre piece with Dani Parr and designer Kate Bunce. The show has been performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, in London's West End and Royal Festival Hall and has been seen by more than 75,000 people worldwide.

“We have made it our own and the design is just incredible,” said Danyah.

“It’s evolved since we first did it. There are lots of surprises and transformations.

“It has hit a chord with people because it’s about the power of stories and the beauty of books. To us as adults as well. It’s the power of communicating.”

Danyah says the one-woman show is for ages six and over and older children will get a lot from it –  unicorns here are mysterious figures, not shiny toys for tinies.

“I had a lovely message from a guy who came to see it and they had five to 14 year olds and they all loved it.”

She added: “It was written when unicorns did not have the  glittery associations.  It’s so layers. It’s fun and playful but goes quite deep and dark.

“It is not so well known as other Michael Morpurgo books.”

The author himself has praised the interpretation, saying: “Danyah’s one of the great storytellers in this country... she brings stories to life in the most enchanting way.”

As well as the show, there is a book swap.

Danyah said: “People are invited to bring books suitable for children aged six plus and add those to the books on stage.  Then I invite them to take a different book home.

“It  came about because the story starts in the library and as you go into the story it, the books you give in become part of the stage set.

“And when you go you take a new story.”

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