The European premiere of Spirited Away will open at the London Coliseum in April 2024.
Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away is the much-loved and Oscar-winning 2001 animated movie created by legendary animator and director Hayao Miyazaki.
Spirited Away has now been re-imagined for the stage by Toho Theatrical Department and Olivier and Tony Award-winning director John Caird (Les Misérables).
Following a sell-out tour of Japan in 2022, the original Japanese cast including Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi, who play Chihiro, will perform this spectacular production for a strictly limited London season at the London Coliseum for 12 weeks from April to July 2024.
The production will be presented in the original Japanese, with English captions, and is adapted by John Caird, co-adapted by Maoko Imai and features the original score by Joe Hisaishi.
Miyazaki’s masterpiece is brought beautifully to life with a live orchestra playing the magnificent film score by Joe Hisaishi arranged by Brad Haak (Mary Poppins), with set design by Jon Bausor (Bat Out of Hell), puppets designed by Toby Olié (Pinocchio at the National Theatre), choreography by Shigehiro Ide (NODA MAP), and costumes by Sachiko Nakahara.
A masterpiece of storytelling and stunning visuals, Spirited Away tells the enchanting tale of Chihiro who, while traveling to a new home with her family, stumbles into a world of fantastic spirits ruled over by the sorceress Yubaba. When her parents are turned into pigs and she is put to work in a magical bathhouse, Chihiro must use her wits to survive in this strange new place, find a way to free her parents, and return to the normal world.
The production is in association with Studio Ghibli, co-produced with PW Productions Ltd and presented by Toho Co., Ltd.
Another famous Studio Ghibli / Hayao Miyazaki animated movie, My Neighbour Totoro, is also playing on the London stage, with the RSC and Joe Hisaishi’s smash-hit production returning to the Barbican Theatre later this year, from 21 November 2023 to 23 March 2024.
Tickets to Spirited Away will go on sale soon.
What they said
Director, John Caird said: “I am proud and delighted to present the original Japanese stage production of Spirited Away at the Coliseum Theatre next year. We had a wonderful time creating the show in 2022 and I’m so happy now to be spiriting away a British audience into Hayao Miyazaki’s magical world. A world of gods and frogs, dragons and sorcerers, giant-sized babies and bouncing heads, spider-armed boilermen, no-faced loners and a young girl’s valiant quest for courage, identity and love.”
Toshio Suzuki, Producer of Studio Ghibli, said: “The day we first met John Caird, Hayao Miyazaki and I thought he was the perfect director for the production –– that was the beginning of this project. It was thanks to the hard work of John, the cast, and all those involved that the premiere production received such high acclaim. I wish to express my deepest respect to all involved in the creation of this monumental piece of theatre. I really look forward to Spirited Away being enjoyed by audiences in London.”
Hiroyasu Matsuoka, President of TOHO Co Ltd, said: “The stage play Spirited Away is finally arriving in London. Since the 1970s, Toho has licensed original musicals for overseas productions, but for the first time in over ninety years of Toho’s history, a Japan-born company is crossing the sea and going out to the world for a three-month run, to perform in the Japanese language. It is my sincere hope that Chihiro, created by director Hayao Miyazaki, producer Toshio Suzuki, and everyone at Studio Ghibli, will be loved even more in theatres all across the world.”
Iain Gillie, of PW Productions said: “When we visited Japan to see Toho’s production of Spirited Away in 2022, we were blown away and knew it had to be shared with audiences far and wide. We’re thrilled to be working with Toho and the extraordinary creative team on this magnificent production.”
Stuart Murphy, from The London Coliseum said: “The London Coliseum is thrilled to present the European premiere of Spirited Away and host what will be a unique and extraordinary cultural event. We look forward to collaborating with renowned international producers Toho Co Ltd and PW Productions and welcoming the original Japanese company to the capital in Spring 2024.”
Actor Kanna Hashimoto said: “Spirited Away premiered at the Imperial Theatre in 2022 and has been seen by countless audiences, is now coming to the London Coliseum from April to July 2024! I am so proud to be acting as Chihiro in London. We have so far been delivering the show in Japanese to the audience in Japan, and the question now is how we will convey it to the audience in London, I imagine we will be bringing in new ways to express this show. I am very much looking forward to it, at the same time as already starting to worry about the rehearsals!”
Actor Mone Kamishiraishi said: “It is a great honour to be able to perform the show in Japanese just as we did in Japan. I am looking forward to seeing how the show that Japanese audiences enjoyed so much will reach London audiences, and I feel very happy and honoured. It is very exciting that there will also be a National tour of Japan running as well as the April-July run in West End, London. Please come and meet Chihiro! We will be waiting for you at the theatre!”