Executive Producer Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) release production images for the global stage premiere of Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro. The production welcomed its first audiences to the Barbican during previews this week and will open officially next Tuesday, 18 October.
The company comprises; Haruka Abe (Yasuko/ Puppeteer), Li-Leng Au (Puppeteer), Boaz Chad (Puppeteer), Nino Furuhata (Kanta/ Puppeteer), Andrew Futaishi (Puppeteer), Zachary Hing (Puppeteer), Susan Momoko Hingley (Miss Hara/ Puppeteer), Yojiro Ichikawa (Puppeteer), Arina Ii (Puppeteer), Haruka Kuroda (Nurse Emiko/ Puppeteer), Marian Lee (Puppeteer), Matthew Leonhart (Puppeteer), Mei Mac (Mei), Aki Nakagawa (Puppeteer), Kanako Nakano (Tsukiko/ Puppeteer), Ai Ninomiya (Singer), Ami Okumura Jones (Satsuki), Michael Phong Le (Hiroshi/ Puppeteer), Tobi Poster-Su (Puppeteer), Si Rawlinson (Puppeteer), Dai Tabuchi (Tatsuo/ Puppeteer), Jacqueline Tate (Granny/ Puppeteer) and Shaofan Wilson (Puppeteer).
Performed on the Barbican’s iconic stage, My Neighbour Totoro will play a 15-week season to Saturday 21 January 2023 with press night on Tuesday 18 October 2022.
On Saturday 15 October, Michael Leader, founder and host of the Ghibliotheque podcast, will host a Creative Team Talk at the Barbican following a screening of the iconic film at the Barbican cinema. He will be joined by Phelim McDermott to talk about the creative process behind the show. The event begins at 4.30pm and tickets are available via the Barbican box office and website.
The celebrated 1988 animated feature film by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) will be brought to the stage by its original composer Joe Hisaishi in a landmark new adaptation by the RSC (Matilda The Musical) written by playwright Tom Morton-Smith (Oppenheimer) in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV.
Directed by Phelim McDermott with production design by Tom Pye, costumes by Kimie Nakano, lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun, and movement by You-Ri Yamanaka, the production will feature puppetry created by Basil Twist and music from Joe Hisaishi’s iconic score in a new orchestration by Will Stuart, performed live with sound design by Tony Gayle. Associate Director is Ailin Conant. Artwork for the stage adaptation of My Neighbour 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.
This enchanting coming-of-age story explores the magical fantasy world of childhood and the transformative power of imagination, as it follows one extraordinary 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. As the girls explore their beautiful new surroundings, Mei encounters magical creatures and the ancient protector of the forest she calls Totoro.
Although Satsuki doesn’t believe her little sister at first, they are soon both swept up in exciting adventures with their new neighbours – transported to a long-forgotten realm of spirits, sprites, and natural wonder.
The production is supported by Spanish Luxury House LOEWE, the Headline Sponsor of My Neighbour Totoro, whose connection with Studio Ghibli began in 2021 with the creation of a capsule collection inspired by the original animated film.