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National Theatre’s War Horse Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

October 26, 2012 

The National Theatre’s award-winning production of War Horse last night (25 October 2012) celebrated its fifth anniversary in London with a special performance at the New London Theatre, Drury Lane. Former cast members and the show’s creative team gathered with VIPs and friends to celebrate five years on the London stage.

Since its early experimental days at the National Theatre Studio, War Horse has become a national and international phenomenon. It opened at the National’s Olivier Theatre in October 2007 and transferred to the New London in March 2009. More than 1.6 million people have seen the show in London with over 2.4 million people seeing the production worldwide. A ten month, nine-venue tour of the UK and Ireland will begin in Autumn 2013; productions of the show are currently running in New York, Toronto and on a North American tour, with future productions planned for Australia and Berlin.

Nicholas Hytner, Director of the National Theatre said: “War Horse caught the imagination of audiences from its very first outing at the National, but none of us could have foreseen that this astonishing production would still be engendering the same heartfelt response five years later. It’s a show which could only have been developed in the subsidised theatre, where the ability to risk-take and experiment is beyond price. I salute the hundreds of theatre-makers, puppeteers and artists who have been part of War Horse’s remarkable journey.”

Michael Morpurgo, author of the original novel said: “From a Devon meadow a hundred and more years ago, to the battlefields of the First World War, to London, to New York, and soon to Australia and Berlin, our Joey keeps on running. It’s five years since the National Theatre took this little known story, and transformed it, told it their way, wonderfully. Since that night in the Olivier when Joey first trotted out into the spotlight, millions of grown-up children and children around the world have come to know and love Joey’s story, through play, film, concert and book. So thank you National Theatre, thank you Joey, and thank you especially to those actors and puppeteers who go on every night and make War Horse the unique theatrical event it has become.”

Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris, co-directors of War Horse added: “We can’t believe that War Horse is celebrating its fifth anniversary. We are so proud of our show. It was a huge team that made it happen – much bigger than any of the teams either of us have worked with before or since. What we ended up with was something far greater than any one of us could have ever imagined.”

War Horse is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the English in World War I. Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war before landing in no man’s land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. A remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, War Horse features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage.

War Horse is based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford and presented in association with Handspring Puppet Company. Directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, it is designed by Rae Smith, lighting is by Paule Constable and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick. The puppetry directors are Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, with video design by 59 Productions Ltd, song-making by John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.

War Horse Facts and Figures

  • War Horse received its World Premiere at the National Theatre on 9 October 2007 (press night: 17 October) and played in the Olivier for 92 performances until 14 February 2008 and was seen by over 104,000 people.
  • War Horse returned to the National Theatre for a second run playing from 10 September 2008 – 18 March 2009 for a total of 114 performances and was seen by a further 130,000 people.
  • War Horse transferred to the West End in 2009 with its first performance at the New London Theatre on 28 March 2009.
  • War Horse is currently booking until 26 October 2013 at the New London Theatre.As of October 2012, more than 1.6 million people will have seen War Horse in London, with over 2.4 million seeing the production worldwide.
  • War Horse has been seen by The Queen, Prince Phillip, Princess Anne, Prince William and Prince Harry as well as many other famous faces from stage, screen and entertainment.
  • The New York production of War Horse opened on 14 April 2011 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center and will run until 6 January 2013.
  • Having seen the show at the New London Theatre, Steven Spielberg turned Michael Morpurgo’s novel into a film starring Jeremy Irvine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston and Emily Watson, which premiered in January 2012.
  • The Toronto production opened in February 2012 at the Princess of Wales Theatre and will run until 6 January 2013.
  • A North American tour began in Los Angeles in June 2012 and will visit 27 cities in its first year.
  • An Australian production will open at the Melbourne Arts Centre State Theatre on 31 December 2012 and will go on to play seasons in Sydney and Brisbane.
  • In autumn 2013 a German language production will open at the historic Theater des Westens in Berlin.
  • A UK Tour will begin in Autumn 2013, visiting Plymouth, Birmingham, Salford, Edinburgh, Southampton, Sunderland, Bradford and Cardiff, and also Dublin.
  • The puppets in War Horse were created by Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones of South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, based in Cape Town. They are made of cane and stretched georgette and are operated by puppeteers.
  • War Horse has 18 puppets, including horses Joey and Topthorn, as well as a goose, two swallows and two crows.
  • Over 850 people have been employed worldwide on War Horse
  • Among its many international awards, War Horse won six Tony Awards, including ‘Best Play’ and a ‘Special Tony Award’ for Handspring Puppet Company.

Release issued by: Premier PR

LINKS

Book tickets to WAR HORSE at the New London Theatre

140,000 New Tickets Released For London Production Of War Horse

August 31, 2011 

The National Theatre’s Laurence Olivier award-winning production of War Horse at the New London Theatre has released 140,000 new tickets for sale, taking bookings up to 16 February 2013.

Nick Stafford’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s book has been playing to packed houses at the New London Theatre since March 2009. The Broadway production of War Horse, which recently opened at the Lincoln Center’s Vivien Beaumont Theatre, was the winner of six Tony Awards including a Special Tony Award for Handspring Puppet Company. A further production is due to open in February 2012 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto, with a US tour scheduled to start in Los Angeles in June 2012. Later this year Stephen Spielberg’s film version of War Horse will be released.

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.

Directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, War Horse is designed by Rae Smith, with puppet design and fabrication by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler for Handspring Puppet Company, 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 and sound by Christopher Shutt.

War Horse is produced in the West End by the National Theatre and National Angels.

Release issued by: Premier PR

LINKS

Book tickets to War Horse at the New London Theatre

Tony Award Winners: War Horse, Book of Mormon sweep Tony Awards; Mark Rylance named Best Actor

June 13, 2011 

At a star-studded ceremony last night, Sunday 12 June 2011, at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, the American Theatre Wing’s 65th annual Tony Awards were announced. British play War Horse triumphed at the awards winning 5 gongs, including Best Play. British actor Mark Rylance won a Best Actor awards for his performance in the Royal Court’s Jerusalem.

Mark Rylance wins a Best Actor Tony for Jerusalem. Photo: CBS

Mark Rylance wins a Best Actor Tony for Jerusalem. Photo: CBS

The Book of Mormon, which has proved an unlikely smash-hit on Broadway, swept the awards with 9 wins out of its 14 nominations, including Best New Musical, and Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score for its authors Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, and Robert Lopez.

Neil Patrick Harris hosted a fun and unusually irreverent night, which opened with a tongue-in-cheek “did they really say that?” song-and-dance number, arguing that the range of Broadway shows on offer meant that the Great White Way was no longer “just for gays”.

The National Theatre’s production of War Horse, which is currently running at the New London Theatre in London and also at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York, won 5 awards including Best Play for author Nick Stafford, Best Direction of a Play for Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, Best Scenic Design of a Play for Rae Smith, Best Lighting Design of a Play for Paule Constable and Best Sound Design of a Play for Christopher Shutt. A special Tony Award was also given to the Handspring Puppet Company, who have produced the life-size horse puppets for the show.

Neil Patrick Harris presented this year's awards

Neil Patrick Harris presented this year's awards

Other big winners last night included two revivals, Anything Goes, which won 3 awards including Best Revival of a Musical and Larry Kramer’s 1985 hit The Normal Heart, which also won 3 awards including Best Revival of a Play.

Big name stars who brought home awards included our very own Mark Rylance, who beat Al Pacino for the Best Actor in a Play award for his bravado performance in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, his second Tony awards following his 2008 win for Boeing-Boeing, Ellen Barkin in The Normal Heart, and Frances McDormand winning Best Actress in a Play for Good People.

The most impassioned acceptance speech of the night came from AIDS activist Larry Kramer, whose play The Normal Heart scooped 3 awards and who said: “I could not have written it had not so many of us so needlessly died.. Learn from it, and carry on the fight. Let them know that we are a very special people, an exceptional people. And that our day will come.”

Brits who were nominated but missed out on awards this year included Jerusalem author Jez Butterworth, Joanna Lumley and costume designer Mark Thompson for La Bete, Kneehigh’s production of Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter and its leading lady Hannah Yelland, Vanessa Redgrave for Driving Miss Daisy, Adam Godley for Anything Goes, Brian Bedford for The Importance of Being Earnest and Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia.

The awards were broadcast live by CBS in the States.

See the full list of 2011 Tony Award winners here.

LINKS

Tony Award winners 2011
Tony Award nominations 2011
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War Horse – 290,000 Tickets Released For Sale In London

June 6, 2011 

MICHAEL MORPURGO’S WEST END HIT GALLOPS INTO OCTOBER 2012

Today, 6 June, the National Theatre’s award-winning production of War Horse at the New London Theatre will release over 290,000 new tickets for sale, taking bookings up to 20 October 2012.

Nick Stafford’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s book has been playing to packed houses at the New London Theatre since March 2009. The Broadway production of War Horse, which recently opened at the Lincoln Center’s Vivien Beaumont Theatre, has won 8 awards as well as being nominated for 5 Tony Awards. In addition Handspring Puppet Company will receive a Special Tony Award at this year’s ceremony on 12 June.

A further production is due to open in February 2012 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto, with a US tour scheduled to start in Los Angeles in June 2012.

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.

Directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, War Horse is designed by Rae Smith, with puppet design and fabrication by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler for Handspring Puppet Company, 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 and sound by Christopher Shutt.

The current West End cast comprises Stuart Angell (Joey/Topthorn heart), Nigel Betts (Arthur Narracott/Sgt. Thunder), Nicholas Bishop (Captain Nicholls), Joshua Blake (John Greig), Hannah Boyde (Annie Gilbert), Pascale Burgess (Paulette), Ellie Burrow (Baby Joey heart/hind) Emily Cooper (Joey/ Topthorn hind/Goose), Matt Costain (Topthorn hind), Ewen Cummins (Chapman Carter/Colonel Strauss/Soldat Schmidt), Danny Dalton (David Taylor), Salvatore D’Aquilla (Klebb/Sentry Shaw), Matthew Forbes (Joey hind), Thomas Goodridge (Joey/Topthorn hind), David Grewcock (Joey/Topthorn head), Stephen Harper (Joey/Topthorn head/Goose/Geordie), Christian Jenner (Dr Schweyk/Heine/Sgt. Fine), Curtis Jordan (Topthorn head/Goose), Nicolas Karimi (Topthorn heart/Geordie), Sarah Mardel (Baby Joey head/Emilie), Shaun McKee (Joey/Topthorn heart/Geordie), Jack Monaghan (Albert Narracott), Jack Parker (Baby Joey heart/hind/Coco), Malcolm Ridley (Sgt.Allan/Schnabel/Manfred), Patrick Robinson (Friedrich Muller), Ruth Rogers (Joey head), Saul Rose (Songman), Mat Ruttle (Bone/Heine), William Rycroft (Captain Stewart/Rudi), Eliot Short (Fiddler), Anthony Shuster (Priest/Karl/Vet Martin), Nicola Stephenson (Rose Narracott), David Walmsley (Billy Narracott/Coco/Ludwig), Andy Williams (Ted Narracott) and Thomas Wilton (Joey heart).

War Horse is produced in the West End by the National Theatre and National Angels.

Release issued by Premier PR

LINKS

Book tickets to War Horse at the New London Theatre

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