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Event: War Horse

War Horse, the unforgettable theatrical event from the National Theatre of Great Britain, based on Michael Morpurgo’s beloved novel will visit New Zealand for the first time in June 2019.

The winner of more than 25 international awards, including the Tony Award® for Best Play on Broadway, War Horse is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom MorrisNick Stafford’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s remarkable story of courage, loyalty and friendship tells the story of a young boy called Albert and his horse Joey, set against the backdrop of the First World War. This powerfully moving and imaginative drama is a show of phenomenal inventiveness, filled with stirring music and songs, featuring ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing, galloping horses to life on stage.

War Horse, which has now been seen by over seven million people worldwide, received its world premiere on 9 October 2007 at the National Theatre where it played for two seasons before opening at the New London Theatre in March 2009.  Since then, War Horse has been seen in 97 cities in 11 countries, including productions on Broadway, in Toronto and Berlin, with touring productions in the UK and Ireland, North America, the Netherlands, Belgium and China.

At the outbreak of World War One, Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the Cavalry and shipped to France. He’s soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary journey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. Albert, who remained on his parents’ Devon farm, cannot forget Joey. Though still not old enough to enlist he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.

Michael Morpurgo said: ‘I’m thrilled that Joey, the War Horse and his great team from the National Theatre, are touring to New Zealand, taking their show all over the world to places War Horse has not been seen before. I am so pleased this is happening; that so many more people have the chance to enjoy this unique theatrical event. Steady boy, steady Joey. Trot on!’

War Horse is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, designed by Rae Smith, with puppet direction, design and fabrication by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler for Handspring Puppet Company, lighting by Paule Constable, and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick, with video design by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer for 59 Productions, songmaker John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher ShuttKatie Henry is the revival director and Craig Leo is the associate puppetry director. Casting to be announced.

War Horse is presented in Auckland by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and the National Theatre

  • War Horse has 23 puppets, including horses Joey and Topthorn, as well as a goose, two swallows and two crows.  
  • It takes eight months to build a complete set of puppets for War Horse; they are handmade by 14 craftsmen and women. 
  • The finished horse puppets weigh approximately 43 kilos for the body, including the puppeteers’ backpacks, and another 7.7 kilos for the head. They are made of cane, leather and tyvec, a material used in book-binding (for the manes and tails). The torso is reinforced with aluminium and able to carry a rider on top. 
  • Joey, Topthorn and Joey as a Foal are each operated by three puppeteers – the Head, the Heart and the Hind. The three puppeteers work together to create the character of each horse and to produce the horse noises.  
  • Puppeteers train for eight weeks before they begin performing. Their training includes basic principles of puppetry before they work specifically on creating the horses. 

For more information click here

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