Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro is heading to the Barbican this October in a new stage adaptation by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
Playwright Tom Morton-Smith (Oppenheimer) has adapted the animated film for the stage with Hisaishi’s music from the 1988 film the cornerstone of the production. The show will be directed by Improbable’s Phelim McDermott in what will be his RSC debut.
Co-produced with theatre company Improbable and Tokyo-based broadcaster Nippon TV, the show will be executive-produced by the RSC and Joe Hisaishi, who composed My Neighbour Totoro’s original score.
The RSC is labelling the show its first production of scale to open in London since Les Miserables in 1985. The production follows five years of development with Hayaho Miyazaki’s animation studio.
The RSC’s acting artistic director Erica Whyman described the project as a “true collaboration” with the Japanese film studio that “honours the spirit of the film but is its own thing”.
The show will feature puppetry by Basil Twist, and Hisaishi’s original score has been given new orchestrations by Will Stuart, which will be performed live.
Set design is by Tom Pye, costumes are by Kimie Nakano, lighting is by Jessica Hung Han Yun, sound is by Tony Gale and movement is by You-Ri Yamanaka.
My Neighbour Totoro opens at the Barbican on 8 October 2022, running until 23 January 2023, with press night on October 18.