Studio Ghibli film ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ to be presented on stage

The world premiere will open at the Barbican this autumn.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

The Studio Ghibli film, My Neighbour Totoro, will be adapted for stage and open in London later this year. My Neighbour Totoro begins previews at the Barbican on 8 October, ahead of an opening night on 18 October and performances to 21 Jan. 2023. Book My Neighbour Totoro tickets on London Theatre.

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation film studio, with popular films including Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo. The 1988 film My Neighbour Totoro is the studio’s most successful film, grossing over $40 million at the box office.

The My Neighbour Totoro play will follow a similar storyline to the film. The coming-of-age story follows sisters Satsuki and Mei as they interact with magical creatures and an ancient forest protector. Tom Morton-Smith adapts My Neighbour Totoro on stage, based on Hayao Miyazaki’s feature animation.

“In Japan, many people are passionate about theatre and musicals, but there are no original Japanese shows or musicals performed in the world” said executive producer and My Neighbour Totoro composer Joe Hisaishi. “Totoro” is a Japanese work famous throughout the world, and so this stage adaptation could have the potential to reach global audiences.”

My Neighbour Totoro is a collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company, Improbable and Nippon TV.

“It is a great honour to be working with the iconic Studio Ghibli and such a wonderfully talented and globally renowned creative team. Adapting this deeply loved magical story for the stage is the next chapter in our longstanding commitment to making spectacular and accessible productions that see the world through the eyes of children” said RSC acting artistic director Erica Whyman.

Phelim McDermott directs My Neighbour Totoro. The production features design by Tom Pye, costume design by Kimie Nakano, lighting design by Jessica Hung Han Yun, soudnd design by Tony Gayle 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.

What is My Neighbour Totoro?

My Neighbour Totoro is a Studio Ghibli film. My Neighbour Totoro follows two young sisters, Satsuki and Mei, as they relocate to the countryside and discover forest spirits in their new neighbourhood. Together, the pair explore a new world that's on their doorstep. The My Neighbour Totoro film was released in 1988.

My Neighbour Totoro is at the Barbican.

Book My Neighbour Totoro tickets on London Theatre.

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Photo credit: My Neighbour Totoro still (Photo courtesy of Studio Ghibli)

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