War Horse, the hugely acclaimed, award-winning production based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel, adapted by Nick Stafford, will open at the Really Useful Group’s New London Theatre on 28 March 2009 (with a press night on Friday 3 April), due to overwhelming demand.
The West End run follows the production’s second sell-out season at the National Theatre. Critics hailed War Horse as “one of the most powerfully moving and imaginative productions of the year, whatever age you happen to be” (Daily Telegraph); “it makes you rejoice to be alive” (The Times); “confirms the National’s extraordinary knack of turning children’s literature into the finest drama. Stunning.” (Sunday Times). The production is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, and presented in association with Handspring Puppet Company.
War Horse (suitable for age 12 and above) won the 2007 Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Laurence Olivier Awards for the set design by Rae Smith and Handspring Puppet Company; Toby Sedgwick received an Olivier Award for his choreography.
At the outbreak of World War One, Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He’s soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.
Michael Morpurgo was Children’s Laureate from 2003-05. The author of over 100 books, his novels include The Wreck of the Zanzibar (Whitbread Children’s Novel Award), The Butterfly Lion (Smarties Prize and Writers’ Guild Award), Kensuke’s Kingdom, Private Peaceful (both of which received the Children’s Book Award), The War of Jenkin’s Ear and Why the Whales Came.
Nick Stafford’s play Battle Royal was seen at the NT in 1999; his other plays include Katherine Desouza (Birmingham Rep), Love Me Tonight (Hampstead), Luminosity (RSC) and The Snow Queen (Young Vic).
Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris are Associate Directors of the NT. Marianne Elliott has directed Pillars of the Community, Thérèse Raquin, Saint Joan and Harper Regan at the National, where next year her productions will include Mrs Affleck and All’s Well That Ends Well. Formerly Artistic Director of BAC, where he directed numerous productions, Tom Morris developed Coram Boy and co-adapted A Matter of Life and Death for the NT; he is currently co-directing (with Felix Barrett) Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.
Handspring Puppet Company was founded in Cape Town in 1981 by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler. Several of their productions have toured internationally, including Starbrites, Woyzeck on the Highveld and Ubu and the Truth Commission. Their most recent production, Tall Horse, the story of a captured giraffe, toured to America and Germany in 2005.
War Horse is designed by Rae Smith, with puppet design and fabrication by Adrian Kohler, lighting by Paule Constable, and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick; the puppetry directors are Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, with video design by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer, songmaker John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton, sound by Christopher Shutt, and production associate Mervyn Millar.
War Horse will be produced by the National Theatre and National Angels and will play at the New London Theatre, Drury Lane, London WC2B 5PW from 28 March 2009. Performances: Monday -Saturday at 7.30pm; Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm.
New London Theatre Box Office
£2.50 booking fee
Telephone (until 31 December 2008): 0844 755 0017;
from 1 January 2009: 0844 412 4654.
Group Bookings: 0844 412 4650
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