National's War Horse to Play West End's New London Theatre in 2009

News   National's War Horse to Play West End's New London Theatre in 2009
The National Theatre's hit production of War Horse — based on Michael Morpurgo's novel of the same name (which has been adapted by Nick Stafford) — will transfer to the West End's New London Theatre in 2009.

Performances will begin March 28, 2009, prior to an official opening April 3. The production is initially booking to Sept. 26, 2009.

War Horse is currently playing its second sell-out run at the National's Olivier Theatre, where it began its season on Sept. 10, 2008, and is playing in rep to March 18, 2009. It originally premiered at the Olivier Oct. 17, 2007, following previews from Oct. 9, and ran to Feb. 14, 2008.

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 and Morris are associate directors of the NT. Elliott has directed Pillars of the Community, Thérèse Raquin, Saint Joan and Harper Regan at the National, where her productions in 2009 will include Mrs. Affleck and All's Well That Ends Well. Morris, who was formerly artistic director of BAC, where he directed numerous productions, developed Coram Boy and co-adapted A Matter of Life and Death for the NT; he is currently co-directing (with Felix Barrett) Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.

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 will be produced in the West End by the National Theatre and National Angels.

Casting has not yet been announced for the West End transfer, but the company at the National currently comprises James Barriscale, Finn Caldwell, Paul Chequer, Conor Doyle, Tim van Eyken, Curtis Flowers, Bronagh Gallagher, Thomas Goodridge, David Gyasi, Bryony Hannah, Kit Harington, Stephen Harper, Gareth Kennerley, Pieter Lawman, Jane Leaney, Craig Leo, Tim Lewis, Tommy Luther, Colin Mace, Mervyn Millar, Emily Mytton, Al Nedjari, Patrick O’Kane, Toby Olie, Howard Ward, Alan Williams and Roger Wilson.

To book tickets, contact the National Theatre box office at 020 7452 3000 or visit

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