My Neighbour Totoro adapted for the stage!

Posted on 27 April 2022

Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company present Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro adapted for the stage by Tom Morton-Smith. The world premiere of Hayao Miyazaki’s feature animation will be brought to the London stage for a strictly limited season at the Barbican. The UK-Japan co-production will open from Saturday 8 October 2022. Tickets for My Neighbour Totoro go on sale with London Theatre Direct from 18 May 2022 ahead of general onsale. 

My Neighbour Totoro stage adaptation

Studio Ghibli’s classic Japanese feature animation has been adapted for the stage, as announced today by executive producer Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company. The world premiere will open for a limited 15-week season at London’s Barbican this autumn in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV.

Hayao Miyazaki’s (Spirited Away) celebrated 1988 animated feature film will be brought to life by the animation’s original composer Joe Hisaishi in this landmark adaptation with a book written by RSC (Matilda the Musical) playwright Tom Morton-Smith (Oppenheimer).

My Neighbour Totoro creative team

The world premiere breakthrough adaptation will be directed Phelim McDermott and will feature production design by Tom Pye, costume design by Kimie Nakano, lighting design by Jessica Hung Han Yun, sound design by Tony Gayle, with movement by You-Ri Yamanaka. The iconic score by Joe Hisaishi with new orchestrations by Will Stuart. The production will feature puppetry by Basil Twist. Ailin Conant is associate director.

The London cast of My Neighbour Totoro will be announced in due course.

What is My Neighbour Totoro about?

Explore the magical fantasy world of childhood in this enchanting coming of age tale and get lost in the transformative power of imagination. The story follows sisters Satsuki and Mei during one extraordinary summer when their family moves to the countryside. The girls explore their beautiful new surroundings where Mei discovers magical creatures including the protector of the forest Totoro. The sisters are soon transported to a long-forgotten realm of spirits, sprites and natural wonder, where they are swept up in an exciting adventure with their new neighbours.

Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki

Toshio Suzuki said:

“When I saw a picture of Totoro and a girl at a bus stop drawn by Hayao Miyazaki, I wanted to make a film of it. I felt I could get back the spirit of a child if Mr Miyazaki was to make the film. Set in 1955 in Japanese rural countryside, it is a story from the period when I was a boy. Once finished, the film really allowed the viewers to recapture their childhood spirit.”

Tickets for My Neighbour Totoro World Premiere will be on sale soon!

Don’t forget to set your reminders for 18 May 2022 when My Neighbour Totoro tickets go on sale! Tickets for the landmark adaptation are expected to be in high demand and you’re not going to want to miss out.

By Jade Ali

A love for theatre stemmed from my love of literature and music, but the West End on my doorstep opened up a whole new appreciation and passion for all things stage-y