Theatre News

My Neighbour Totoro to transfer to the West End

The award-winning show continues its life after two sell-out runs

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The Barbican cast of My Neighbour Totoro, © Manuel Harlan

Executive producer and legendary composer Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), in collaboration with Nippon TV and Improbable, have announced that Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro will transfer to the West End next year.

The production, which was adapted by Tom Morton-Smith and directed by Improbable’s Phelim McDermott, broke the Barbican’s box office record for most tickets sold in a single day when it was first announced in April 2022.

The production explores the magical fantasy world of childhood and the transformative power of imagination, following one extraordinary summer in the lives of sisters Satsuki and Mei.

It premiered in October 2022 and received critical acclaim, winning five WhatsOnStage Awards and six Olivier Awards for its Barbican spell. It then returned to the Barbican in the autumn of 2023 for a second sell-out run.

Morton-Smith said today: “I am delighted that our take on Totoro will make the move into the West End next year. It’s an incredibly special show that has managed to marry beautiful technical design with so much heart and humanity. I am thrilled that even more people will get to experience the magic and wonder that this production conjures.

“Spending time with these characters and with Miyazaki’s incomparable gentle giant has been both a joy and an honour, and I can’t wait to once again share this show with audiences both new and returning.”

McDermott added: “I am constantly delighted by the love that My Neighbour Totoro receives from audiences of all ages, both from those who already cherish the film and those newly introduced to the story of Mei and Satsuki. It is truly an honour to share the joy of this production with thousands more in London’s West End.

“I am grateful to Nippon TV, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the brilliant cast, creatives, and staff who have helped bring this adaptation of Miyazaki’s beloved 1988 film to the stage with such delicacy, beauty, and care. The success of My Neighbour Totoro continues to exceed my own expectations and I am incredibly proud to work on this once-in-a-lifetime theatrical experience.”

The play will run at the Gillian Lynne Theatre for 34 weeks from Saturday 8 March to Sunday 2 November 2025, with an opening night on Thursday 20 March. Priority booking opens on Monday 29 April, with public booking from Friday 3 May.

My Neighbour Totoro has production design by Tom Pye, costume design by Kimie Nakano, lighting design by Jessica Hung Han Yun, movement by You-Ri Yamanaka and puppetry design  and direction is by Basil Twist.

The production features music from Hisaishi’s iconic score in a new orchestration by Will Stuart, performed live with sound design by Tony Gayle. Video  design is by Finn Ross and Andrea Scott. Casting is yet to be announced. 

Artwork for the stage adaptation of My Neighbour Totoro includes a hand-drawn title by Toshio Suzuki, producer for Studio Ghibli.

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