Royal Shakespeare Company To Bring Anime Film ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ To Stage This Year

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The Royal Shakespeare Company are confirmed to stage an adaptation of the animated fantasy film ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ set to run for 15 weeks at the Barbican Theatre from October 2022 to January 2023. The Studio Ghibli feature film was released in 1988 and became a global success when Netflix acquired the rights to 21 films by the studio. It has been promised that the upcoming stage play for the celebrated anime film is going to be “ambitious and spectacular”, so let us take a look at everything we know so far before we get a chance to go see the production ourselves from October.

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) are working together with the multi-award-winning composer Joe Hisaishi to prepare a stage adaptation for Miyazaki Hayao’s Studio Ghibli film ‘My Neighbour Totoro’. It will open at London’s Barbican arts complex this autumn in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV. Excitingly, Joe Hisaishi was also the original composer of the film!

The premiere of the stage adaptation will have a limited run of 15 weeks from October 2022 to January 2023, and it can be seen at the Barbican Theatre, which is a part of the Barbican Centre. It is directed by Phelim McDermott and will feature puppets created by Basil Twist, so there will be a lot of exciting things to look forward to during the play itself.

Erica Whyman, the RSC’s acting artistic director, said, “Adapting this deeply loved magical story for the stage is the next chapter in our longstanding commitment to making spectacular and accessible productions that see the world through the eyes of children.”

Take a look at the creative process of ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ below!

The stage play is written by “playwright Tom Morton-Smith and directed by Phelim McDermott with production design by Tom Pye, costumes by Nakano Kimie, lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun, and movement by Yamanaka You-Ri. The production will feature puppetry created by Basil Twist and music from Hisaishi’s score in a new orchestration by Will Stuart, performed live with sound design by Tony Gayle. Artwork for the adaptation 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. Casting for the stage production will be announced soon.”

The story of ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ is a coming-of-age story following the lives of sisters Satsuki and Mei in summer. The plot is as follows: “Mei and Satsuki shift to a new house to be closer to their mother who is in the hospital. They soon become friends with Totoro, a giant rabbit-like creature who is a spirit.”

Here is the anime film trailer:

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