The National Theatre’s stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse will transfer to the West End following its current, second sell-out run on the South Bank. It finishes its repertory run at the NT Olivier on 18 March 2009 and reopens on 3 April (previews from 28 March) at the West End’s New London theatre, where it’s initially booking until 26 September 2009.

Ticket prices in the West End, where the production is being mounted under the National’s own steam with its National Angels investors, will rise slightly, ranging from £15 to £45 midweek and up to £47.50 at weekends (as compared £9 to £41 at the NT). Unlike its current schedule, War Horse will not have Sunday performances in its new home (See News, 22 May 2008).

In Nick Stafford’s stage version of Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s book, young Albert's beloved horse Joey is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France during the First World War. Unable to forget Joey and still too young to enlist, the boy embarks on a treacherous mission to find the horse and bring him home.

On stage, horses, children and other selected characters are brought to life by life-sized puppets created by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler for South African puppet company Handspring. The puppets, and set designs by Rae Smith, earned War Horse Best Design prizes at the Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Laurence Olivier awards.

The production is co-directed by NT associates Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris and designed by Rae Smith, with lighting by Paule Constable, movement by Toby Sedgwick and music by Adrian Sutton.

War Horse received its world premiere in the NT Olivier on 17 October 2007 (previews from 9 October). It returned for its second season on 17 September 2008 (previews from 10 September). Booking for the West End transfer opens on 18 December.

Currently at the New London, the new so-called “Holocaust musical” Imagine This posted closing notices earlier this month (See News, 8 Dec 2008). It finishes this Saturday, 20 December 2008, just over a month after its opening night on 19 November (previews from 4 November).

- by Terri Paddock