Executive Producer Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV, have announced the full company for the multi-award-winning stage adaptation of Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro which will return to the Barbican theatre for a strictly limited run from Tuesday 21 November 2023 to Saturday 23 March 2024.
Mei Mac will reprise her Olivier and WhatsonStage Award-nominated performance as Mei Kusakabe with Ami Okumura Jones returning as older sister Satsuki, Dai Tabuchi in his role as Tatsuo and Jacqueline Tate as Granny.
Also returning as Kazego Puppetry ensemble are; Boaz Chad, Jasmine Chiu, Andrew Futaishi (Hiroshi), Matthew Leonhart, Arina Ii (Miss Hara), Yojiro Ichikawa, Si Rawlinson, Mark Takeshi Ota and Shaofan Wilson.
Joining them are; Jessie Baek, Jasmine Bayes, Ka Long Kelvin Chan (Kanta), Elizabeth Chu, Anna Kato, Heather Lai, Amanda Maud (Nurse Emiko), Yuki Nitta, Bright Ong, Emily Piggford (Yasuko), Daniel Phung, Gun Suen and Naomi Yang (Tsukiko).
The global stage premiere of Hayao Miyazaki’s celebrated 1988 animated feature film, adapted by Tom Morton-Smith (Oppenheimer), was first announced in April 2022 and broke the Barbican’s Box Office record for most tickets sold in a single day. The production opened at the Barbican in October last year, where it received both critical and audience acclaim, winning six Olivier Awards, five WhatsOnStage Awards and the Critic’s Circle Awards for Best Design.
Directed by Improbable’s Phelim McDermott with production design by Tom Pye, costume design by Kimie Nakano, lighting design by Jessica Hung Han Yun, and movement by You-Ri Yamanaka. Puppetry design and direction is by Basil Twist, created with puppetry associate Mervyn Millar’s Significant Object and the Jim Henson Creature Shop.
The production features music from Joe Hisaishi’s iconic score in a new orchestration by Will Stuart, performed by live musicians including singer, Ai Ninomiya, with sound design by Tony Gayle. Video design is by Finn Ross and Andrea Scott. Casting Director is Hannah Miller CDG. 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.
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.