'My Neighbour Totoro' sets West End transfer

Following two seasons at the Barbican Centre, the acclaimed play adapted from the classic Studio Ghibli film will play a 34-week run at the Gillian Lynne Theatre.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

The magic returns! My Neighbour Totoro, the stage adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki's beloved same-named Studio Ghibli movie, will transfer to the West End in 2025. The Gillian Lynne Theatre will host the 34-week run from 8 March to 2 November 2025. Opening night is 20 March.

My Neighbour Totoro follows two sisters, Satsuki and Mei, who move to the countryside to be with their sick mother. There, Mei discovers Totoro, the protector of the forest, and a whole host of spirits, who take the girls into a realm of comfort, magic, and wonder.

Miyazaki's award-winning film premiered in 1988 with a score by Joe Hisaishi, who also scores and executive produces the stage adaptation. The play, adapted by Tom Morton-Smith, first premiered at the Barbican Centre, presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Nippon TV, and Improbable. In April 2022, ahead of its premiere that October, My Neighbour Totoro broke the box office's record for the most tickets sold in a single day, beating out a 2015 Benedict Cumberbatch-led production of Hamlet.

That production won six Olivier Awards in 2023 including Best Entertainment or Comedy Play, Best Director (for Phelim McDermott), and costume, lighting, set, and sound design prizes. My Neighbour Totoro then played an encore season at the Barbican from November 2023 to March 2024.

London Theatre's five-star My Neighbour Totoro review calls the show "theatre at its most magical [...] Morton-Smith’s adaptation strikes a perfect balance of honouring Hayao Miyazaki’s creation and seeking a new theatrical language."

"It’s an incredibly special show that has managed to marry beautiful technical design with so much heart and humanity," Morton-Smith said in a statement about moving the production to the West End. "I am thrilled that even more people will get to experience the magic and wonder that this production conjures."

The creative team, again led by McDermott and Hisaishi, also includes production designer Tom Pye, costume designer Kimie Nakano, lighting designer Jessica Hung Han Yun, orchestrator Will Stuart, sound designer Tony Gayle, and video designers Finn Ross and Andrea Scott.

Movement is by You-Ri Yamanaka, and puppetry design and direction are by Basil Twist.

Casting for My Neighbour Totoro in the West End has yet to be announced.

Photo credit: My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Centre. (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

Originally published on

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