Nick Stafford's adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's novel transferred there March 28, 2009, and opened officially April 3. Originally booking to September 26, it has now extended through Feb. 12, 2010.
The full cast from Sept. 30 comprises James Barriscale (Chapman Carter/Colonel Strauss/Sgt. Fine), Gregory Bartlett (Topthorn head), Michael Brett (Joey and Topthorn hind), Simon Bubb (Captain Stewart/Rudi), Matthew Burgess (Joey heart), Killian Burke (Ensemble), Finn Caldwell (Topthorn heart/The Goose/Veterinary Officer Martin), Laura Cubitt (Paulette/ Joey as a foal), David Emmings (Joey head), Robert Emms (Albert Narracott), Jack Gordon (Billy Narracott), Robin Guiver (Joey and Topthorn heart/Geordie), Stephen Harper (Topthorn hind/Geordie), Bettrys Jones (Joey as a foal/Emilie), Avye Leventis (Joey as a foal), Jonathan Livingstone (David Taylor), Colin Mace (Ted Narracott), Eamonn O'Dwyer (Songman), Patrick O’Kane (Friedrich), Toby Olié (Joey and Topthorn head/The Goose), Ian Piears (Joey hind), Malcolm Ridley (Sgt. Allan/Schnabel/Manfred), Ruth Rogers (Ensemble/Joey and Topthorn head), William Rycroft (Ensemble), Rachel Sanders (Rose Narracott), Anthony Shuster (Gefreiter Karl), Matthew Spencer (Captain Nicholls), Matthew Tait (Ensemble/Joey & Topthorn heart), Ben Thompson (Ensemble/Joey and Topthorn hind), Howard Ward (Arthur Narracott/Sgt. Thunder) and Roger Wilson (Alternate Songman/ Greig).
The production, which is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris and presented in association with Handspring Puppet Company, won the 2007 Evening Standard, Critics' Circle and Laurence Olivier Awards for the set design by Rae Smith and Handspring Puppet Company; Toby Sedgwick received an Olivier Award for his choreography.
The story concerns Joey, young Albert's beloved horse, who is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France at the outbreak of the First World War. He's soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man's land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.
Morpurgo was Children's Laureate from 2003-05. The author of over 100 books, his novels include "The Wreck of the Zanzibar" (Whitbread Children's Novel Award), "The Butterfly Lion" (Smarties Prize and Writers' Guild Award), "Kensuke's Kingdom," "Private Peaceful" (both of which received the Children's Book Award), "The War of Jenkin's Ear" and "Why the Whales Came." Stafford's play Battle Royal was seen at the NT in 1999; his other plays include Katherine Desouza (Birmingham Rep), Love Me Tonight (Hampstead), Luminosity (RSC) and The Snow Queen (Young Vic).
Elliott is an associate artist of the National Theatre, where she has directed Pillars of the Community, Thérèse Raquin, Saint Joan, Harper Regan and Mrs. Affleck at the National, where she is also currently represented by a production of All's Well That Ends Well. Morris, who was formerly artistic director of BAC, where he directed numerous productions, developed Coram Boy, co-adapted A Matter of Life and Death and co-directed Every Good Boy Deserves Favour for the NT. He is now artistic director of Bristol Old Vic Theatre.
Handspring Puppet Company was founded in Cape Town in 1981 by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler. Several of their productions have toured internationally, including Starbrites, Woyzeck on the Highveld and Ubu and the Truth Commission. Their most recent production, Tall Horse, the story of a captured giraffe, toured to America and Germany in 2005.
War Horse is designed by Rae Smith, with puppet design and fabrication by Adrian Kohler, lighting by Paule Constable, and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick; the puppetry directors are Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, with video design by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer, songs by John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt. The production associate is Mervyn Millar. It is produced in the West End by the National Theatre and National Angels and is sponsored byh Accenture, supporters of Innovation at the National Theatre.
To book tickets with no booking fee, contact the box office at 020 7452 3000 or visit www.warhorselondon.com.