Children's theatre warns of £1.6m funding shortfall finish building

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The Independent Culture

Britain's first specially designed professional theatre for children, under construction in London, is running out of cash.

Britain's first specially designed professional theatre for children, under construction in London, is running out of cash.

The Unicorn Theatre's new home, being built on the south bank of the Thames near Tower Bridge, needs £1.6m if it is to be finished in time for its planned opening in autumn 2005. Celebrities from Dame Judi Dench to Robbie Williams have contributed to the £12.6m appeal, with half the money coming from public bodies such as Arts Council England.Members of the public who contribute £1,000 will have a seat in the main auditorium named in their honour and those who donate £100 will have their name inscribed on a special wall inside the building.

Emma Thompson, the actress and Unicorn patron, said children of all backgrounds should have access to theatre. "It's no good London having a first-class theatre, which is only available to children whose parents have high incomes," she said. "The Unicorn will combine its steady excellence with accessibility."

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