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Friday, May 2, 2014


(Joey and Topthorn square off. 2011 London Cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg)

Any follower of South Africa’s renowned Handspring Puppet Company will be delighted to hear that War Horse, the phenomenal award winning UK stage production comes to South Africa towards the end of this year.

The global theatre phenomenon, War Horse will be making its South African première later this year, beginning with a season at The Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg in October before transferring to the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town in December.

War Horse will be presented in South Africa by Pieter Toerien, Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and The National Theatre of Great Britain, in association with Handspring Puppet Company. The production has been seen by over five million people worldwide since its opening at the National Theatre in 2007. During its successful run on Broadway, it received five Tony Awards, plus a special Tony Award for Handspring Puppet Company.

Says Pieter Toerien, "I fell in love with War Horse when it first opened at the National Theatre in London nearly seven years ago. The brilliant actors and the genius of South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company made War Horse an absolutely extraordinary evening in the theatre. I was determined to bring it to our audience so a dream is about to come true for me”.

Chris Harper, the producer of War Horse said: "The design, artistry and craftsmanship of Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler and everyone at Handspring Puppet Company has delighted War Horse audiences around the world. Every single puppet used in the show was hand-crafted in Cape Town at Handspring’s puppet factory, and it is only fitting that they are returning to the country where they were created, to be enjoyed by South African audiences."

War Horse is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the British in World War I. Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war before landing in No Man’s Land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. A remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, War Horse features groundbreaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage.

Based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, who has written over 100 books and was Children’s Laureate from 2003 to 2005, War Horse has been beautifully adapted by Nick Stafford. The production is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, designed by Rae Smith, lighting is by Paule Constable and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick. The puppet design and puppetry directors are Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, with video design by 59 Productions Ltd, song-making by John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.

War Horse is in its sixth successful year in London’s West End, on a major tour of North America, is running in Berlin (in German and called Gefährten) and is on a sell-out tour of the UK and Ireland. A new production will open in Amsterdam in June as part of the Holland Festival and then tour to five Cities in the Netherlands in September.

War Horse is produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain - 
Booking is through Computicket.