Just past Tantallon nestled in the woods at the end of Station Road, is an old school house with a small stage where children from all over HRM are learning about live theatre at a very special summer camp.
Aptly named, the Unicorn Theatre is a magical place for young actors from Grades 2 through 12 to hone their acting skills, stretch their vocal cords and explore their imaginations.
During the summer months the theatre offers a variety of weekly and weekend camps. Besides acting and singing, campers learn about sets, lighting, costumes and pretty much everything there is to know about running and performing in a live show.
For Chantel Coolen, the Unicorn turned out to be a perfect fit for her eight-year-old son Finn who's back for his second year.
"He's not into sports," said the Tantallon resident. "And he was always running around the house singing and putting on plays anyway so I thought I'd give it a try and he loved it."
Artistic director Iris Elliot, along with her daughter, started the theatre after directing a summer drama camp in Hubbards. They were so impressed by the young talent that they decided to found a year-round children's theatre. It's first production, Annie, was performed in March 1996.
Throughout the school year, the theatre has a full program of activities for boys and girls Grade 2 and up. Two major productions are presented annually. Already volunteers are working on Disney's The Little Mermaid set for stage this coming fall.
"We're a community," said Elliot. "It's not just parents dropping off their kids. They help with props, and costumes ... it's a joint effort of creation."
Twelve year-old Kaleigh MacLeod has been involved in the Unicorn Theatre since she was five years old, first as a camper and now as a volunteer.
"It's so much fun to see the kids learning about theatre," she said. "I know I love it. I'm applying and auditioning for parts. I've had two call-backs, it's what I want to do now."
As for 10-year olds Abby Sutherland and Lindsay Morgan, all they want to do right now is have fun.
"I love the singing and the acting and the volunteers are so much fun," said Sutherland.
"It doesn't matter how good you are," said Morgan. "Everyone does something and we're learning there are no small parts."
Elliot is not surprised by the children's enthusiasm.
"It's a chance to do something you love to do," she said. "It's a wonderful magical way to become someone else for a little while. It's the magic of theatre."
For more information on the Unicorn Theatre, camp spaces, upcoming productions and auditions go to www.unicorntheatre.ca