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My Neighbour Totoro The Stage Play

Date: 2022 April 27 20:33

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The good folks from the Royal Shakespeare Company have just revealed they will be performing a live production of My Neighbour Totoro.

The production will come to London's Barbican stage this autumn 2022. Based on the iconic and highly influential animated feature film by Hayao Miyazaki, the performance is being brought to the by Joe Hisaishi who composed the original music for Totoro and is a long term Studio Ghibli collaborator. The RSC adaption is written by playwright Tom Morton-Smith. The show will also feature various puppetry. It's not clear yet how the furry forest king Totoro will be portrayed, or how they'll handle the catbus!

My Neighbour Totoro will play a strictly limited 15-week season from 8th October 2022 - 21nd January 2023.

Ticket prices range from £20 to £85, with up to two half-price tickets with every full price paying adult. Valid for all performances excluding Saturday evenings. Various discounts are also offered for class bookings, UK schools, colleges and Universities, groups of 10+. There are also special TikTok £10 tickets for 14-25 year olds.

Tickets are available from the 9th May 2022 for top tier RSC Patrons, with tickets being available to the various RSC patron tiers until they're released to the general public on Thursday 19 May 2022. Tickets bookable online from 10am.

We have only seen the preview material, but we have every reason to believe this will be a very special production.

This is not the first time the works of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki have hit the stage in the UK. In 2016 the Southwark Playhouse created a version of Kiki's Delivery Service, based on the original book. It was so successful it returned for a second run in 2017. While in 2013 the Whole Hog Theatre Company created a stage adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke.

While more recently a stage adaption of Spirited Away is proving to be a huge it in Japan.

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Press release as follows:

My Neighbour Totoro The Stage Play


  • Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company present the world premiere of Studio Ghibli's My Neighbour Totoro in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV. Adapted for the stage by Tom Morton-Smith from Hayao Miyazaki's feature animation, the production will open at London's Barbican in October 2022.
  • David Edgar's critically acclaimed adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol returns to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh.

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) today announced full details of its festive programme of productions for Winter 2022 including the world premiere of the stage adaptation of Studio Ghibli's My Neighbour Totoro which will open at London's Barbican for a strictly limited run from 8 October 2022, plus the return of David Edgar's critically-acclaimed adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol playing in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from 26 October 2022.

Acting Artistic Director Erica Whyman said: "I am thrilled to be announcing these two magical shows for families. They continue distinguished RSC traditions of centring the imagination and resilience of children and celebrating the possibility of change. After many years of development I am proud our collaboration with Joe Hisaishi and Studio Ghibli is taking flight at the Barbican in what is set to be a ground-breaking and spectacular theatrical event and delighted that Phelim McDermott will at long last make his RSC debut. Meanwhile in Stratford David Edgar's Christmas Carol in Rachel Kavanaugh's entrancing staging seems more timely than ever - a witty, joyful clarion call for a kinder world."


Saturday 8 October 2022 - Saturday 21 January 2023

Presented by Executive Producer Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), My Neighbour Totoro will open at the iconic Barbican for a 15-week season from Saturday 8 October 2022 - Saturday 21 January 2023 with press night on Tuesday 18 October 2022. Priority booking will open from 10am on Monday 9 May 2022, with public booking opening at 10am on Thursday 19 May 2022.

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).

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.

Joe Hisaishi, Executive Producer and Original Composer of My Neighbour Totoro, said:

"In Japan, many people are passionate about theatre and musicals, but there are no original Japanese shows or musicals performed in the world. "Totoro" is a Japanese work famous throughout the world, and so this stage adaptation could have the potential to reach global audiences. That's what I thought, and I told Mr Miyazaki "I want to see such a show" and he said "yes, only if you are going to do it".

"This responsibility is a huge task, but we chose to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, a globally prestigious company, and with their support we can make it happen. I am delighted that the RSC have become our partner because I feel much in common between the quality of the RSC and Mr. Miyazaki's aesthetic. This is a ground-breaking project. Phelim McDermott is a wonderful director, and his team are enthusiastic, creative and very hardworking. They love Totoro and the sense of anticipation is high.

"I was involved with the original animation film, and so I feel strongly about not harming the film. If the story is universal - as I believe it is - it will have a global reach even if it is performed by people from different cultural backgrounds speaking different languages. I was sure of this - and so we have chosen to open outside Japan. To me this was important. It's vital to keep distance with the film but it's also important to have new encounters. That's why I put my trust in this project. I believe it will be a great show."

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. Casting for the production to be announced soon.

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.


Wednesday 26 Oct 2022 to Sunday 1 Jan 2023

Following its premiere in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 2017, David Edgar's hugely successful adaptation of Charles Dickens' much-loved classic story A Christmas Carolmakes a welcome return to Stratford-upon-Avon this Christmas from Wednesday 26 October 2022 to Sunday 1 January 2023.

Described by The Telegraph as "a magnificent achievement", David Edgar's socially-conscious adaptation of Dickens' classic fable opened in 2017 to critical acclaim in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, where it played to sell-out audiences. The production was later revived the following year due to audience demand.

This festive tale of redemption and compassion follows cold-hearted businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, who - over the course of one ghostly Christmas night - learns to pity himself and to love his neighbour - but is that enough?

Playwright David Edgar said:

"As a young playwright in the 1980s it was a privilege to be asked by Trevor Nunn to adapt Charles Dickens' relatively unknown but brilliant early novel Nicholas Nickleby for the RSC. Nearly 40 years later, I was delighted to be invited back, to adapt what is probably Dickens' best-loved and best-known story.

"In 1843, Dickens read a parliamentary report on the conditions of children in the mines and factories of what was aptly called the Hungry Forties, and resolved to write an angry political pamphlet, to be published that Christmas, calling for reform. By the end of the year he'd produced not a tract but a universal story of how benevolence is stronger than greed. I wanted to put Dickens and his ambitions in the foreground of the adaptation. In Rachel Kavanaugh's wonderful production - combining a glorious set with dazzling choreography and musical score - we see Dickens construct his story before our very eyes.

"When we premiered the show in 2017, millions were already relying on food banks and beggars haunted city streets. Covid and the cost of living crisis have made economic inequality - and raw poverty - an even more pressing reality. And yet - in the way the nation came together around the NHS to combat the pandemic - we have been reminded of the selflessness and generosity of spirit which lies at the heart of Dickens's enduringly optimistic story."

David Edgar has been writing plays professionally since 1971. As one of the UK's greatest living playwrights, David's rich history with the RSC spans over four decades making him the company's most produced living writer to date.

His original plays for the RSC include: Destiny (1976); Maydays (1983, revived in a new version in 2018 directed by Owen Horsley); Pentecost (1994, transferring to the Young Vic, London, 1995); The Prisoner's Dilemma (2001); Written on the Heart (2011, transferring to the Duchess Theatre, London, 2012) and A Christmas Carol, his first Dickens adaptation since the multi-award winning production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby in 1980, which premiered at the Aldwych Theatre before transferring to Broadway in 1981 where it went on to win The Society of West End Theatre and Tony award for 'Best Play'. In 2019, David wrote and performed his one-man solo show Trying It On, which toured to the Birmingham Rep, the RSC's The Other Place, the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs and the Traverse Theatre during the 2019 Edinburgh Festival, and on tour.

A Christmas Carol is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh and designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis with lighting by Tim Mitchell. Sound Design is by Fergus O'Hare with Movement by Georgina Lamb.

The production is supported by Pragnell, the Headline Sponsor of A Christmas Carol. The Stratford-upon-Avon founded, sixth generation family-owned jewellers is a long-standing supporter of the RSC's work. Charlie Pragnell said: "Pragnell is proud to announce a new partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company, sponsoring productions across the coming years, starting with A Christmas Carol. We are delighted and honoured to support the RSC which enriches lives through broadening the understanding of Shakespeare's works all around the world."




RSC Artists Circle and Gold Patrons

Monday 9 May

RSC Silver Patrons

Tuesday 10 May

RSC Bronze Patrons / Barbican Patrons

Wednesday 11 May

RSC Members and Barbican Membership Plus

Thursday 12 May

RSC Subscribers and Barbican Members

Friday 13 May

Public Booking

Thursday 19 May


Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company present the world premiere of Studio Ghibli's MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO

In collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV

Adapted for the stage by Tom Morton-Smith from Hayao Miyazaki's feature animation

Saturday 8 October 2022 - Saturday 21 January 2023

Press night: Tuesday 18 October 2022, 7pm

Monday - Saturday, 7pm

Thursday & Saturday matinees, 2pm (from 20 October)

Barbican, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
Barbican Box Office: 020 7638 8891 or visit

Twitter / TikTok: @totoro_show

Instagram / Facebook: @totoroshow / TotoroShow



Tickets from £20 - £72.50 with a limited number of Premium Seats available at £85 and £95

Reduced preview pricing: £10 off all prices

Groups and school rates available on selected performances

Day seats will be available at £20

£10 tickets available for 14-25 year olds via the RSC TikTok £10 Tickets scheme.

Please note that there will be no performances on Thursday 22 Dec (no matinee), Sat 24 Dec, Mon 26 Dec, Sat 31 Dec and Mon 2 Jan (no evening)



By Charles Dickens, adapted by David Edgar

Wednesday 26 Oct 2022 - Sunday 1 Jan 2023

Press night: Tuesday 8 November 2022 7pm

Monday - Saturday, 7.15pm

Thursday & Saturday matinees, 1.15pm (from Saturday 5 Nov)

Sunday Performances: 4, 11, 18 December 2022 and 1 January 2023 2pm

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6BB

RSC Box Office: 01789 331111

Twitter / Instagram: @TheRSC


The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England

The work of the RSC is supported by the Culture Recovery Fund

The RSC is generously supported by RSC America

LOEWE is the Headline Sponsor for My Neighbour Totoro

Miranda Curtis CMG - Lead Production Supporter of My Neighbour Totoro

TikTok £10 Tickets for 14-25s sponsored by TikTok

The work of the RSC Literary Department is generously supported by The Drue and H.J. Heinz II Charitable Trust

Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates world class theatre, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world, performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as commissioning an exceptionally wide range of original work from contemporary writers. Our purpose is to ensure that Shakespeare is for everyone, and we do that by unlocking the power of his plays and of live performance, throughout the UK and across the world.

We believe everybody's life is enriched by culture and creativity. We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. Our transformative Learning Programmes reach over half a million young people and adults each year, and through our Creative Placemaking and Public Programme we create projects with and for communities who have not historically engaged with our work. We are a leader in creative immersive technologies and digital development.

We have a proud record of innovation, diversity and excellence on stage and are determined to grasp the opportunity to become an even more inclusive, progressive, relevant and ambitious organisation.

We are committed to being a teaching and learning theatre - in which we create world class theatre for, with and by audiences and theatre makers of all ages. We provide training for emerging and established theatre makers and arts professionals, for teachers and for young people. We share learning formally and informally. We embed training and research across our company, work and processes.

We recognise the climate emergency and work hard to embed environmental sustainability into our operations, creative work and business practice, making a commitment to continually reduce our carbon footprint.

Keep Your RSC supports our mission to create theatre at its best, unlocking Shakespeare and transforming lives. Thousands of generous audience members, trusts and foundations and partners supported Keep Your RSC since 2020, alongside a £19.4 million loan from the Culture Recovery Fund, we are thrilled to be welcoming audiences back. It will take time to recover, to reopen all our theatres, and many years to repay the loan and the support and generosity of our audiences is more important than ever. Please donate at

Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by animated film directors Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki and has produced twenty-four feature-length films. Most Studio Ghibli films ranked number one at the box office in Japan in the year in which they were released.

The Studio's Spirited Away (2001), Howl's Moving Castle (2004) and Princes Mononoke (1997) are among Japan's top 10 grossing films. Studio Ghibli films have garnered numerous awards and critical acclaim from film critics and animation specialists around the world. Spirited Away was awarded the Golden Bear as the Best Feature Film at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival and won the 2002 Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film. In October 2001, Studio Ghibli, in conjunction with The Tokuma Memorial Cultural Foundation for Animation, founded the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, designed by Hayao Miyazaki.

The Wind Rises (2013), The Tale of Princes Kaguya (2013), When Marnie was There (2014) and The Red Turtle (2016) have earned the studio four consecutive nominations for the Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film. The studio's latest film, Earwig and the Witch, was an official selection for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival.


Improbable are pioneering improvisers, inventive creators, imaginative collaborators, authentic conversation facilitators.

Improbable is led by Artistic Directors Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson and occupies a vital space in the landscape of UK theatre. At the heart of their artistic practice is improvisation. Whether in performance, rehearsal or development Improbable use the practice and philosophy of improvisation in the process of creation.

Improbable have staged epic spectacles like Sticky, which was seen by over 250,000 people, theatrical classics like The Tempest at Northern Stage and the Oxford Playhouse, intimate puppetry like Animo in studios across the country, adaptations like Theatre of Blood at the National Theatre, operatic triumphs like Satyagraha and Olivier and Grammy Award winning Akhnaten at the English National Opera, London and the Metropolitan Opera, New York, female led impro project Permission Improbable which nurtures an improvisation culture grown by women and fully improvised productions like Lifegame which toured internationally and at the National Theatre. Our shows are live events encouraging conversation between us and our audience.

Nippon TV

Nippon TV is Japan's leading multiplatform entertainment powerhouse and ratings champion broadcaster, as well as owner of streaming giant Hulu in Japan. Over 90% of its content IP is fully owned by Nippon TV and the company has been active in bringing its content to the international market in the form of ready-made programs, formats, and through co-production partnerships.

One of the biggest successes for the nation's finest producer of all genres of programming is the Emmy Award-winning Dragons' Den/Shark Tank, a globally successful business show format that has 45 versions in more than 186 countries across all continents of the world. Additionally, their hit drama series Mother has also achieved global success as the most exported scripted format out of Asia, with its format sales to South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine, France, Thailand, China, Indonesia, and Spain.

Block Out is an action-packed game show format that has been adapted in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Spain, and Holland. The award-winning unscripted format Mute it!, and Sokkuri Sweets, have both been produced in the Netherlands. Sokkuri Sweets/Eye Candy is on The Roku Channel in the US, UK, and Canada. As evident by the company's success, Nippon TV is leveraging its coveted platform to revolutionize digital media in an ever-changing industry to solidify its presence and brand as a global media leader.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people's lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


Created in Spain in 1846, LOEWE has been one of the world's major luxury houses for almost 180 years. Since 2013, under creative director Jonathan Anderson, the brand has started a new chapter focused on craft and culture; evidenced through an intellectual yet playful approach to fashion, bold and vibrant Spanish lifestyle, and unmatched expertise with leather.

In 2021 the brand collaborated with Studio Ghibli to create the LOEWE x My Neighbour Totoro capsule collection, followed by LOEWE x Spirited Away in 2022. LOEWE and Studio Ghibli share a mutual love of craft and artisanal techniques, expressed in their respective languages, as well as a deep connection to nature, the outdoor world and a sense of perpetual invention.


Pragnell offers the widest and most beautiful selection of fine jewellery, watches and silver, both antique and modern, in the UK. As a sixth-generation, family-owned company, the Pragnell name symbolises its innate commitment to quality.

Source: The Royal Shakespeare Company
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