Studio Ghibli’s much-adored classic My Neighbor Totoro hit the stage as part of a very limited run at the Barbican last year. Tickets were swept up and the awards came through in rapid fashion, with the only lack of success owed to those who weren’t quick enough to bag a seat.
To those poor Ghibli fanatics that missed out: we have news. Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage production of My Neighbor Totoro is returning to the Barbican for a selection of shows at the end of 2023 and beginning of 2024.
My Neighbor Totoro hit screens for the first time in 1988, and the Hayao Miyazaki-directed is considered one of the finest anime Studio Ghibli pictures out there, alongside his other classics that include Spirited Away (2001) and Howl’s Moving Castle (2003).
My Neighbor Totoro on stage
It found its way to the stage 34 years after being released, at a global premiere at London’s Barbican. Totoro was adapted by Tom Morton-Smith of Oppenheimer fame, and, when it was initially announced, broke the Barbican’s record for most tickets sold in one day.
Now, the show must go on. My Neighbor Totoro is back in collaboration with Improbably and Nippon TV, and will run again between November 21, 2023 – March 23, 2024. Tickets for the show executive produced by Joe Hisaishi and Royal Shakespeare Company go on sale on April 21, 2023.
As the tickets whizzed out, the awards came rushing in. Picking up five What’s on Stage Awards, and boasting a year-high of nine Olivier Awards nominations, it’s safe to say the Ghibli adaptation has been nothing short of a roaring success.
Griselda Yorke, RSC Executive Producer, said:
“The most extraordinary group of artists have come together from all over the world to adapt this iconic film for the stage, and I am delighted that the production will return to the Barbican in 2023.
“My Neighbour Totoro is a story of imagination and courage which asks us to trust the youngest amongst us to see further than most of us dare to dream. With our return to the Barbican, many more audiences will be able to experience the joy of Totoro and we can’t wait to welcome them.”
Improbable’s Phelim McDermott is back to direct the production, with Tom Pye also returning for production design duties. As this is an anime adaptation we’re talking about, the masterful hand-designs of Toshio Suzuki, who was also involved in production of planning of the original picture, is also back for round two. News on casting is set to follow.
A tear-jerking coming of age tale, My Neighbor Totoro tells the story of a young girl who strikes a friendship with a group of sprits while her mother is seriously ill in hospital.
The RSC Production of My Neighbor Totoro returns to the stage between November 21, 2023 – March 23, 2024. Tickets go on general sale on April 21, 2023, though RSC members will be able to gain early access, with artist circle and gold patron’s sale beginning on April 11. Tickets start at £25 and can be booked at the Barbican’s website.