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War Horse - final extension announced!

Posted 18th September 2015

War Horse, based on the beloved novel by Michael Morpurgo, this powerfully moving and imaginative drama, filled with stirring music and songs, is a show of phenomenal inventiveness.

It has won 25 major awards, will have played over 3,000 performances and been seen by over 2.7 million people in London.



Michael Morpurgo had these words to share:

‘So Joey needs a rest. After an 8 year run in London, first at the National Theatre then at The New London, it is time to be put out to grass, time for a breather. It has been hard work, but wonderful work. No National Theatre play has played to more people, has travelled the world so widely as War Horse.

Great things from small beginnings grow. Tom Morris and Marianne Eliott dared to take a children’s book, and not a well own or successful one either, about a horse and a boy in the First World War, and make a play of it with puppets.  But what puppets! Between them, the National Theatre and Handspring Puppet Company have transformed the use of puppetry in theatre. Then they wove into their play the design of Rae Smith, the music of Adrian Sutton and John Tams, glorious lighting and sound, and spent two risky years putting the show together. The result, after a stuttering start, was an iconic play, but not simply a play, certainly not a musical, a show like no other, with puppets at its heart.

It has moved millions in London and all over the world. Vast numbers of children have been to see the show, in families and school groups, and will never forget it. How great to see the theatre always full of people of all generations, all caught up in the story playing out before them, in a show once called ‘the greatest anthem to peace ever seen on a stage.’

So many have played their part in the making of this play, in the telling of the story on stage, over the years, hundreds of wonderful actors amongst them. The book is now rather better known, but through the play. So the Bard was right when he wrote the line: ‘the play’s the thing.’  And the play, like the book, goes on.  It is playing now in Beijing, then Shanghai, and in 2017 will return for another tour of the UK. Then who knows?  Joey will be up for it. He may even come back to London one day.  Hope so. But London is a busy place for a horse, and he is getting on a bit, like me.

For now, from March of next year, he needs a bit of a rest back in his meadow in Devon. He’ll be able to see the swallows again, skimming over the fields in the summer, the heron rising off the river, and the kingfisher flying by. And I’ll be looking after him, I promise you.  Means a lot to me that horse.  Means a lot to a lot of people, an awful lot.’

Michael Morpurgo
17th September 2015