During the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses across the world have been negatively affected by lockdowns and other necessary measures taken to slow the spread of the virus. In many ways, the cultural industries have been most severely affected, with minimal recovery aid and little or no support for small companies who work in collaboration with venues to bring much-needed entertainment to our communities. We are one such company seeking a last chance at survival following this most harrowing of periods in the creative sector.
Dark Unicorn Productions Ltd was founded in 2018 and incorporated in 2019 by Paddy Cooper and Eleanor Stourton to create exciting, thought-provoking and – above all – entertaining theatre for the world we live in, to do so in the regions and on the fringes with a focus on under-served communities, and to work on a zero-exploitation basis, with safe working environments and union-approved wages.
As a company, we have, along with so many in the arts sector, taken a hit because of Covid, and this has meant that we first had to scale back our plans for our next live production, and then had to find external funding in addition to our existing funds to allow us to proceed.
We have an extremely exciting show lined up for 10 performances across six venues, mainly in small communities, in Sussex and Kent – Two Way Mirror by Arthur Miller. The rights for this show are rarely awarded, and we are honoured to have been permitted to mount a production. The show is a double bill of short plays for the same two actors, looking at relationships, reality and how we interact and view one another, and doing so in a witty, fast-paced, dark but warm way. It is also regarded by many as Miller's only oblique artistic exploration of his failed marriage to Marilyn Monroe
In “Elegy for a Lady”, a shopkeeper attempts to help a man seeking a gift for a dying woman, only for them both to discover something about themselves
“Some Kind of Love Story” is classic Americana with a twist – a Sam Spade-style detective drama turns psychological when a private investigator tasked with proving a miscarriage of justice realises the only person who knows the truth is an old flame whose emotional fragility plays itself out in multiple personalities. Where does truth lie? And will anyone believe it if they hear it?
Our tour schedule is currently planned as follows:
Oct 9 – All Saints Centre, Lewes
Oct 10 - The Lantern Theatre, Brighton
Oct 14, 15 & 16 – The Grove Theatre, Eastbourne
Oct 23 – The Barn Theatre, Seaford
Oct 29 – Chequer Mead Theatre, East Grinstead
Nov 3 – The Stag Arts Centre, Sevenoaks
Nov 11 and 12 – St Mary in the Castle, Hastings
Added to this we have been delighted to cast our own Eleanor Stourton in the two female roles, and she will be joined by the eminent American actor Nigel Barber, whose career spans half a century and multiple continents, and includes appearances in blockbusters such as “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” and major musicals such as “The Bodyguard” and the national tour of “Funny Girl” where he starred as Florenz Ziegfeld opposite Sheridan Smith.
The show’s technical and stage management provisions will be overseen by Katy Matthews – long time production manager for Brighton-based satirical cabaret “The Treason Show” and for the Brighton Fringe output at The Rialto Theatre.
All cast and crew are hired on agreed union rates for fringe productions and accommodated at no extra cost as required.
We are aiming to raise a minimum of £5,000 of the cost of producing the show via crowdfunding to allow us to stage the sort of show we would want to, while recognising the challenges and shifting environments caused by the recovery from the global pandemic. It will help market the show properly, contribute towards the positive work environment we aim to create and ensure that we have created a project fit to secure our corporate future.
In addition, any regular donations pledged as part of the Crowdfunder platform will go towards the running costs of the business and planning future projects. All qualifying donations will be enrolled in our patron's scheme at the appropriate tier (see rewards for more details on the Rainbow, Diamond and Pegasus Circle tiers)
A range of pre-packaged benefits are available on this page and we are also very happy to discuss bespoke packages and corporate sponsorship options with individuals and businesses who want to be more deeply involved. Just email [email protected] to arrange a chat.
The arts should be the pinnacle of any civilised society, especially as we seek new and interesting ways of expressing ourselves after a cataclysmic 18 months for our world. Please help a small, independent company with big ideas and a bigger heart that has been overlooked in our post-Covid funding environment.