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OnOff Stage

The Unicorn Theatre's fifth annual festival of workshops for deaf children hits London's West End next Tuesday. The week-long programme of workshops for schools, created and led this year by Elizabeth Quinn (star of Children of a Lesser God), John Wilson, and others culminates in an all-day public session.

Run by Trestle Theatre Company, it will involve masks and creating sketches for performance at the end of the day. For further details, ring the Unicorn on 0171 379 3280. On rather a different tack, the Unicorn is chasing rats. Or rather, one very special rat with style, good looks and, above all, manners, to star on the poster of their Christmas production of - yes, it could only be - The Pied Piper. Anyone who thinks their verminous darling has star quality should call the Unicorn.

Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack are giving a staged reading at the Young Vic on Monday of the first of two parts of Mirad, A Boy from Bosnia. The reading, at 5pm, is aimed at teachers and is the first part of a season of new plays about childhood called Making the Future to be presented by Oxford Stage Company at the Young Vic in October. The play by Dutch playwright Ad de Bont is about a 13-year-old boy's escape from Bosnia to a refugee camp in Holland and his return in search of his mother. It is published in Longman's literature series.

The other plays are Hitler's Childhood by Swedish playwright Niklas Radstrom, who calls it "an elegy for the child who was destroyed" and Grace, a modern fairy tale by Ignace Cornelissen from Belgium. For more information, ring the Young Vic on 0171 633 0133.

Forty odd years ago, a teenager wrote a play for an experimental theatre company at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in the east end of London. The company was Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop, the writer was Shelagh Delaney and the play A Taste of Honey. Forty years on, the theatre is carrying on the tradition of nurturing new young writers.

The theatre has secured funding from the City Parochial Foundation for a Young Writers Group next year. The Pounds 10,000 will go towards rehearsed readings for 16 to 25-year-olds who want to write plays, as well as visiting lecturers, theatre visits and a professional writer for advice and support. For further details, ring education development officer Rob West on 0181 519 7842.

The Albany Theatre and Capital Radio's Help a London Child present Silent Scream by TIE Tours, a new theatre in education production for 13 to 16s about bullying. Workshops follow each performance, twice a day, from May 22 to 26. Tickets are free and available to schools and youth groups on a first come first served basis. To book, ring Adrian Berry on 0181 691 3277.

Year 11 students from Friesland School, Nottinghamshire and Tudor Grange School, Birmingham have been chosen by the International Amateur Theatre Association to represent the UK at the European Youth Theatre Encounter in Ankara in July. The students will devise an original theatre piece to be performed at the parallel World Theatre Festival. Some sponsorship has been pledged to help with travel. If you know of any businesses that might be happy to contribute more, contact Colin Jackson at Friesland School on 0115 939 7326.

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