Southwark Playhouse Sets USAGI YOJIMBO as Christmas 2014 Production

Southwark Playhouse Sets USAGI YOJIMBO as Christmas 2014 Production

Southwark Playhouse celebrates the 30th anniversary of Stan Sakai's epic award-winning comic book series, Usagi Yojimbo, by presenting the world premiere of a brand new theatrical adaptation live onstage for the first time this Christmas. Press night: Wednesday, 3 December 2014 at 7pm; regular run: Friday 28 November 2014 - Sunday 4 January 2015.

A young rabbit leaves home, family and friends behind him in pursuit of one ambition: to become a great samurai warrior. Trained by a maverick old lion sensei - a teacher of the warrior's code known as Bushido - Usagi learns that the way of the samurai is one of peace and perfection - not just masterful swordsmanship. But as war engulfs the land, he must make a choice that will test his loyalty, honour and dearest friendship.

This Christmas join our long-eared hero on the adventure of a lifetime as he takes his fate in to his own paws.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, this long-running comic book series featured the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and has won numerous accolades including three Eisner Awards and the Parents' Choice Award. Adapted for the stage for the first time with special permission from creator Stan Sakai and featuring stunning design, video projection and original live music, Usagi Yojimbo is an epic adventure for the whole family.

Stan Sakai says 'I couldn't be happier that Southwark Playhouse is presenting the first stage adaptation of Usagi Yojimbo at their theatre this Christmas. Having spent the last three decades with Usagi I'm very excited that his story is going to be lifted from the pages of my comic book on to a London stage. A perfect 30th birthday present! I wish the creative team every success and I can't wait to see it.'

The Press on Southwark Playhouse's previous Christmas shows:

Creator Stan Sakai was born in Kyoto, Japan, grew up in Hawaii, and now lives in California. He received a Fine Arts degree from the University of Hawaii, and did further studies at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. His creation Usagi Yojimbo first appeared in Albedo Comics in 1984. Since then, Usagi has been on television as a guest of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and as toys, on clothing, in comic books, and in a series of trade paperback collections. In 1991, Stan created Space Usagi, the adventures of a descendant of the original Usagi, dealing with the samurai in a futuristic setting. Stan is also an award-winning letterer for his work on Sergio Aragonés' Groo the Wanderer, the Spider-Man Sunday newspaper strips as well as Usagi Yojimbo. He is the recipient of a Parents' Choice Award, an Inkpot Award, multiple Eisner Awards, two Spanish Haxturs, an American Library Association Award, The Cultural Ambassador Award from the Japanese American National Museum and a National Cartoonists' Society Division Award. Usagi Yojimbo Book 12: Grasscutter was used as a textbook in Japanese history classes at the University of Portland. Stan has spoken at various venues including the College of William & Mary, Johns Hopkins University, the Connecticut Historical Society, and the Japan Tower in Brussels, Belgium. He is currently published by Dark Horse Comics and Fantagraphics Books. There are over thirty volumes of his collected works in print.

Adaptor Stewart Melton is a writer and director. Followers, his adaptation of Shakespeare'sJulius Caesar, was Southwark Playhouse's Schools Shakespeare production this year. Other plays include He She It and Peter Is Not Here (Company of Angels), Two Endless Minutes (Young Vic Taking Part), Symmetry (Southwark Playhouse Schools Tour) and Imagine You Are Everyone (The Yard). Forthcoming plays include Seesaw (Unicorn Theatre). Directing includes Imagine You Are Everyone and his own freely adapted version of Othello (The Space).

Director Amy Draper previously directed the stage adaptation of Louis de Bernieres' Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World at Southwark Playhouse (2012). Other directing credits include Life on the Refrigerator Door (Yard Theatre), Splinters (Ovalhouse), The Door (Park Theatre), Angel Cake (Camden People's Theatre) and the community show for the CASA Latin American Theatre Festival in 2013. Forthcoming projects include These Trees are Made of Blood, which was an Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award finalist in 2012 and developed at BAC. Amy was Resident Assistant Director at the Finborough Theatre and Tour Director on the national tour of Childsplay by SPID Theatre.

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