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My Neighbour Totoro transfers to the West End in March 2025!

Posted 24th April 2024

Executive Producer Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), in collaboration with Nippon TV and Improbable, have unveiled plans for a 34-week run of Studio Ghibli’s beloved classic, My Neighbour Totoro. Set to captivate audiences at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London’s illustrious West End, this production promises an enchanting experience like no other.

Scheduled to run from Saturday, March 8th, to Sunday, November 2nd, 2025, with a grand opening night slated for Thursday, March 20th, this theatrical extravaganza marks a momentous occasion for fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s iconic 1988 animated masterpiece. Priority booking will commence on Monday, April 29th, followed by public booking from Friday, May 3rd, allowing eager fans ample opportunity to secure their seats for this eagerly anticipated event.

Adapted for the stage by the talented Tom Morton-Smith, renowned for his work on “Oppenheimer,” the production is helmed by Improbable Co-Founder, Phelim McDermott. With an impressive array of accolades under its belt, including six Olivier Awards and five WhatsOnStage Awards, My Neighbour Totoro has already proven its mettle, having shattered the Box Office record for most tickets sold in a single day at the Barbican in April 2022.

Following its global premiere in October 2022, the production garnered both critical acclaim and fervent praise from audiences worldwide. Its triumphant return to the Barbican Centre for a limited run in Autumn 2023 further solidified its status as a cultural phenomenon. As the curtains fell on its run at the Barbican Centre in March 2024, anticipation mounted for its next chapter on the West End stage.

The Olivier Award Winning adapter, Tom Morton Smith, said:

“I am delighted that our take on Totoro will make the move into the West End next year. It’s an incredibly special show that has managed to marry beautiful technical design with so much heart and humanity. I am thrilled that even more people will get to experience the magic and wonder that this production conjures. Spending time with these characters and with Miyazaki’s incomparable gentle giant has been both a joy and an honour, and I can’t wait to once again share this show with audiences both new and returning.”

Director, Phelim McDermott said:

“I am constantly delighted by the love that My Neighbour Totoro receives from audiences of all ages, both from those who already cherish the film and those newly introduced to the story of Mei and Satsuki. It is truly an honour to share the joy of this production with thousands more in London’s West End.

“I am grateful to Nippon TV, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the brilliant cast, creatives, and staff who have helped bring this adaptation of Miyazaki’s beloved 1988 film to the stage with such delicacy, beauty, and care. The success of My Neighbour Totoro continues to exceed my own expectations and I am incredibly proud to work on this once-in-a-lifetime theatrical experience.”

The production’s producer from Nippon TV, Kenichi Yoda, who is also a board member of Studio Ghibli, said:

“We continue to treasure this show, which has been led by Mr. Joe Hisaishi. It’s a pleasure that My Neighbour Totoro has been loved for a long time, and that more people will discover the original film.”

With a stellar creative team at the helm, My Neighbour Totoro promises a visual and auditory feast for the senses. Featuring production design by Tom Pye, costume design by Kimie Nakano, and lighting design by Jessica Hung Han Yun, every aspect of the production is meticulously crafted to transport audiences into the whimsical world of Totoro. Movement direction by You-Ri Yamanaka, puppetry design by Basil Twist, and music from Joe Hisaishi’s iconic score, expertly orchestrated by Will Stuart, ensure a seamless fusion of artistry and storytelling.

Notably, the stage adaptation also pays homage to its animated roots, with artwork by Toshio Suzuki, Producer for Studio Ghibli. Suzuki’s hand-drawn title lends an authentic touch to the production, reflecting his integral role in bringing the original film to life.

As casting details remain eagerly anticipated, the stage is set for My Neighbour Totoro to captivate audiences with its timeless tale of friendship, wonder, and the magic of childhood. With its arrival on the West End stage, this beloved classic is poised to weave its spell once more, enchanting audiences of all ages and reminding us of the enduring power of imagination.