Studio Ghibli’s classic animation film “My Neighbor Totoro” is being adapted into a stage play for Britain’s prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company from October, Nippon Television Network Corp., one of the production’s collaborators, said Wednesday.
The 1988 film directed by Oscar-winning anime creator Hayao Miyazaki will be turned into a live production under British playwright Tom Morton-Smith and director Phelim McDermott, with famed composer Joe Hisaishi providing the music.
The stage adaptation will be the first of its kind for “My Neighbor Totoro,” and will premiere on Oct. 8 at London’s Barbican Centre and run until Jan. 21.
The film tells the coming-of-age story of two young sisters, Satsuki and Mei, and their adventures in befriending magical forest creatures after the girls move to the countryside. Totoro, the film’s titular character, has become a cult icon after the movie premiered in Japan and later spread around the world.
In a statement issued with the announcement of the co-production of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Nippon Television Network, Hisaishi said he believes the film delivers a universal message.
“It will reach a global audience, even if the stage play is performed in a different language by people who grew up in an entirely different culture,” said Hisaishi, who also acts as executive producer.
The composer, who provided the music for the film, proposed the idea of a stage play to Miyazaki and obtained his consent.
Improbable, a British theater company that boasts McDermott as its co-founder and co-artistic director, will also be involved in the production.