WAR HORSE Makes South African Premiere, October 22
The global theatre phenomenon, WAR HORSE will be making its South African premiere later this year, beginning with a season at The Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg in October before transferring to the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town in December. WAR HORSE will be presented in South Africa by Pieter Toerien, Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and The National Theatre of Great Britain, in association with Handspring Puppet Company. The production has been seen by over 5 million people worldwide since its opening at the National Theatre in 2007. During its successful run on Broadway, it received five Tony Awards, plus a special Tony Award for Handspring Puppet Company.
WAR HORSE is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the British in World War I. Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war before landing in No Man's Land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. A remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, WAR HORSE features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage.
Based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, who has written over 100 books and was Children's Laureate from 2003 to 2005, WAR HORSE has been beautifully adapted by Nick Stafford. The production is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, designed by Rae Smith, lighting is by Paule Constable and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick. The puppet design and puppetry directors are Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, with video design by 59 Productions Ltd, song-making by John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.
Says Pieter Toerien, "I fell in love with WAR HORSE when it first opened at the National Theatre in London nearly 7 years ago. The brilliant actors and the genius of South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company made WAR HORSE an absolutely extraordinary evening in the theatre. I was determined to bring it to our audience so a dream is about to come true for me."
Chris Harper, the producer of WAR HORSE, said: "The design, artistry and craftsmanship of Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler and everyone at Handspring Puppet Company has delighted WAR HORSE audiences around the world. Every single puppet used in the show was hand-crafted in Cape Town at Handspring's puppet factory, and it is only fitting that they are returning to the country where they were created, to be enjoyed by South African audiences."
RMB views it as a great honour to partner Pieter Toerien and Handspring Puppet Company in bringing WAR HORSE home. As a brand, Rand Merchant Bank celebrates and rewards exceptional talent, their business philosophy being: "Traditional values. Innovative ideas." This 32-year-old ethos is reinforced through arts events RMB supports, from William Kentridge's innovative interpretation and directorship of Mozart's traditionally classical THE MAGIC FLUTE in 2007 to helping bring the world-renowned WAR HORSE theatre production to South Africa. WAR HORSE is a play that lives, breathes and challenges the imagination, making it a compelling branding partnership for RMB, as our alignment with creative and intellectual excellence in arts is an opportunity for the art of business to embrace the business of the arts. Helping to publically showcase SA's arts, culture and heritage as a country differentiator and international calling card, also contributes to nation-building. An increasing number of premium quality arts initiatives remind us of how many creative, gifted South Africans are making a positive difference to our country's destiny.
WAR HORSE is in its sixth successful year in London's West End, on a major tour of North America, is running in Berlin (in German and called GEFÄHRTEN) and is on a sell-out tour of the UK and Ireland. A new production will open in Amsterdam in June as part of the Holland Festival and then tour to five Cities in the Netherlands in September.
The WAR HORSE UK company comprises of James Alper (Stewart/Heine/Ludwig), Lee Armstrong (Albert Narracott), Peter Ash (Billy Narracott/Klebb/Heine), Emily Aston (Paulette), Nisa Cole (Emilie), Joe Darke (Topthorn Heart), David Fleeshman (Arthur Narracott), Adam Foster (Bone/Fine), Bob Fox (Song Man), Jason Furnival (Carter/Strauss), Tom Gilbey (Joey Head), Oliver Grant (Topthorn Head), Finn Hanlon (Captain Nicholls/Schweyk), Karl Haynes (Greig/Vet Martin), Karen Henthorn (Rose Narracott), Steven Hillman (Ted Narracott), Michael Humphreys (Joey Heart), Linford Johnson (Topthorn Hind), Andrew Keay (Joey Hind), Rebecca Killick (Baby Joey/Annie Gilbert), Tom Larkin (Double Hind), John Leader (Double Heart), Helen Macfarlane (Baby Joey/Matron Callagher), Sean McKenzie (Priest/Thunder), Alex Moran (Baby Joey/David), Suzanne Nixon (Double Hind), Tom Norman (Double Heart), Joseph Richardson (Goose/Bugle/Schnabel), Paul Simpson (Klausen), Gavin Swift (Geordie), Simeon Truby (Allan/Manfred), Peter Twose (Double Head), Richard Vorster (Double Head) and Martin Wenner (Friedrich).
WAR HORSE opens first at The Teatro at Montecasino in Fourways, Johannesburg on 22 October where it runs until 30 November 2014. The season at the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town is from 5 December 2014 until 4 January 2015. Tickets cost from R100 to R450 via Computicket for both the Johannesburg or Cape Town runs. For group bookings please call Tracy in Cape Town on 0214383301 and Geraldine in Johannesburg on 0115111988. WAR HORSE is produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain.