My Neighbour Totoro begins its 15-week season at London’s Barbican Theatre today. Developed by the Royal Shakespeare Company and executive producer Joe Hisaishi, this world premiere production is based on the celebrated 1998 Japanese animated film by Hayao Miyazaki.
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.
The stage adaptation is written by playwright Tom Morton-Smith (Oppenheimer) in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV.
Many performances at the Barbican are sold out and the limited run is expected to sell-out. Whilst it hasn’t been announced, a West End transfer and UK and international tour is expected. The RSC previously stated the production was the largest undertaking for a musical since its multi-award winning stage adaptation of Matilda The Musical.
Directed by Phelim McDermott, the piece features production design by Tom Pye, costumes by Kimie Nakano, lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun, and movement by You-Ri Yamanaka. Puppetry is created by Basil Twist and music is from Joe Hisaishi’s iconic score in a new orchestration by Will Stuart, performed live with sound design by Tony Gayle and Video by Finn Ross.
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.
The cast includes 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), 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).