Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ to Return to London’s Barbican Theatre
The smash hit stage adaptation of Studio Ghibli’s “My Neighbor Totoro” will return to London’s Barbican Theatre for a limited run this fall.
The production is from executive producer Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV.
The global stage premiere of Hayao Miyazaki’s celebrated 1988 animated feature film, adapted by Tom Morton-Smith (“Oppenheimer”), was announced in April 2022 and broke the Barbican’s box office record for most tickets sold in a single day. The production opened at the Barbican in October 2022 and was nominated for nine Olivier Awards, the most nominations for any production this year.
The coming-of-age story follows one summer in the lives of sisters Satsuki and Mei. In order to be closer to their mother while she recovers from an illness in a rural convalescent hospital, their father moves the family to the countryside. Mei encounters magical creatures and the ancient protector of the forest she calls Totoro and the sisters are soon both swept up in adventures.
Reviewing the play for Variety, David Benedict described it as “grand-scale theatrical storytelling” and as “a feast for the eyes.”
The play is directed by Improbable’s Phelim McDermott with production design by Tom Pye, costume design by Kimie Nakano, lighting design by Jessica Hung Han Yun and movement by You-Ri Yamanaka. Puppetry design and direction is by Basil Twist, created with puppetry associate Mervyn Millar’s Significant Object and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. The production features music from Joe Hisaishi’s iconic original score in a new orchestration by Will Stuart, performed live with sound design by Tony Gayle. Video design is by Finn Ross and Andrea Scott. The associate director is Ailin Conant.
Artwork for the stage adaptation of ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ includes a hand drawn title by Toshio Suzuki, producer for Studio Ghibli, who was involved in the planning and production of the original animated film.
Griselda Yorke, RSC executive producer, said: “The most extraordinary group of artists have come together from all over the world to adapt this iconic film for the stage, and I am delighted that the production will return to the Barbican in 2023. ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ is a story of imagination and courage which asks us to trust the youngest amongst us to see further than most of us dare to dream. With our return to the Barbican, many more audiences will be able to experience the joy of Totoro and we can’t wait to welcome them.”
“My Neighbor Totoro” will return to the Barbican from Nov. 21, 2023 through March 23, 2024.
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