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My Neighbour Totoro on stage – in rehearsals

The production opens early next month

Mei Mac, Ami Okumura Jones
© RSC, photo by Manuel Harlan

Rehearsal images have been released for the RSC's eagerly anticipated premiere of My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican.

Mei Mac
© Manuel Harlan

The seminal 1988 Studio Ghibli film by Hayao Miyazaki follows two sisters, Satsuki and Mei, who encounter a vibrant world of wood spirits while waiting for their father to finish work and their mother to return from hospital.

The company is made up of Haruka Abe (Yasuko/ puppeteer), Li-Leng Au (puppeteer), Boaz Chad (puppeteer), Nino Furuhata (Kanta/ puppeteer), Andrew Futaishi (puppeteer), Zachary Hing (puppeteer), Susan Momoko Hingley (Miss Hara/ puppeteer), Yojiro Ichikawa (puppeteer), Arina Ii (puppeteer), Haruka Kuroda (Nurse Emiko/ puppeteer), Marian Lee (puppeteer), Matthew Leonhart (puppeteer), Mei Mac (Mei), Aki Nakagawa (puppeteer), Kanako Nakano (Tsukiko/ puppeteer), Ami Okumura Jones (Satsuki), Michael Phong Le (Hiroshi/ puppeteer), Tobi Poster-Su (puppeteer), Si Rawlinson (puppeteer), Dai Tabuchi (Tatsuo/ puppeteer), Jacqueline Tate (Granny/ puppeteer) and Shaofan Wilson (puppeteer).

Directed by Phelim McDermott, the show has production design by Tom Pye, costumes by Kimie Nakano, lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun, sound by Tony Gayle, movement by You-Ri Yamanaka, dramaturgy by Pippa Hil, associate lighting programming by Tamykha Patterson and associate set design by Isobel Nicolson,

Joe Hisaishi's score will be performed live in the show, with new orchestrations by Will Stuart, musical supervision by Bruce O'Neil, sound design by Tony Gayle, creative sound design by music associate Nicola T Chang and associate sound design by Steven Atkinson.

The production will feature puppetry created by Basil Twist while the associate director is Ailin Conant and puppetry associate is Mervyn Millar, with Julie Atlas Muz as puppetry assistant and Andrea Scott as associate video designer.

Front: Basil Twist, Phelim McDermott, Ailin Conant
© Manuel Harlan

The stage version will blend music, puppetry and storytelling to bring Miyazaki's tale to life, with Tom Morton-Smith (Oppenheimer) adapting the book. It will play a 15-week season from Saturday 8 October 2022 to Saturday 21 January 2023, with press night on Tuesday 18 October 2022.

Haruka Abe
© Manuel Harlan

© Manuel Harlan
Nino Furuhata
© Manuel Harlan
Phelim McDermott, Ailin Conant, You-Ri Yamanaka
© Manuel Harlan
Dai Tabuchi
© Manuel Harlan
Mei Mac, Haruka Abe, Ami Okumura Jones
© Manuel Harlan
The company
© Manuel Harlan
Mei Mac, Ami Okumura Jones
© Manuel Harlan
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