‘We thought we’d never see it again’: award-winning War Horse to return to UK

  • The award-winning stage production of War Horse is returning to UK theatres in a major tour this autumn.

    The National Theatre production of Michael Morpurgo’s novel opens at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 5 September and will run on stages across the country until 4 January 2025, with “future dates and venues to be announced”.

    War Horse, adapted by Nick Stafford and originally directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, is the most successful play in the history of the National Theatre, winning more than 25 major awards and seen by more than 8.3 million people worldwide.

    “This all-new tour is co-produced with Michael Harrison, Fiery Angel, and Playing Field,” a National Theatre spokesman said.

    War Horse tells the remarkable 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, charging, horses to thrilling life on stage and has inspired a generation of theatre-makers since its premiere in 2007.”

    Mr Morris said it was a “huge privilege” to be invited to revisit War Horse.

    “Michael Morpurgo’s brilliant idea, to explore the crushing violence of war through the experience of a horse, makes his story as powerful and resonant today as it has ever been,” he said.

    Mr Morpurgo added that he was delighted by the production’s return.

    “When Covid closed the show down in 2020 in Australia in the midst of its second world tour, many thought, and I was among them, that we’d never see War Horse on stage again.

    “Now it’s really happening – we will hear the music and songs, be amazed by its design and lighting, and live Joey’s story again. War Horse is about the tragedy of war and about a horse and his boy, but it’s also so many other things – it‘s about family and community, courage and loss, hope, and most importantly reconciliation.”

    The tour starts 110 years after the First World War broke out, and over 40 years since the book was written.

    National Theatre executive director Kate Varah said: “We are delighted that we are able to launch this major new UK tour of War Horse. This moving and spectacular production has captured the imagination of millions of audience members across the world since it was first performed on the Olivier stage in 2007 and we are deeply appreciative and excited to be working with our co-producers to make this possible in the current landscape. We look forward to connecting with our partner venues with this much-loved story, which appeals to all ages and which beautifully showcases the magic of live performance.”

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