In 1952 Alan Kitching and his wife were walking through the ruins of the Abingdon Abbey Buildings. It occured to him that the space in what is called 'The Checker Hall' would make a brilliant little theatre.
For more information about the creation of the theatre - read about it in Alan's own words. 'The Pleasant Historie of The Unicorn Theatre by its Onlie Begetter'.
Alan proposed the idea of an Elizabethan-style theatre in July of 1952 and the following November construction work began to a stage design by Mr Christopher Ellis of Radley College, with boys from the College providing some of the labour. The first production in the newly renamed Unicorn Theatre was The Two Angry Women of Abingdon (performed by Abingdon Drama Club) in Coronation Week, June 1953. The summer season that year also included plays by Congreve and Priestley, three musical concerts, talks on the Elizabethan and Restoration theatre, and poetry readings. Alan Kitching was also the producer, between 1959 and 1974, of Unicorn stagings of twelve of Handel's Italian operas, unseen in England since the composer's lifetime.
The buildings also host a large Craft Fair in October of each year.
The Unicorn Theatre, as part of the Abingdon Abbey Buildings, is owned and run by The Friends of Abingdon.
The Unicorn Theatre is a wonderfully atmospheric and intimate space, which is used for drama and music performances, lectures and other events.