‘My Neighbor Totoro’ to be brought to London stage by Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company via Jiji Press
Poster of the stage adaption of Hayao Miyazaki’s anime “Tonari no Totoro” provided by Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company

LONDON (Jiji Press) — The Royal Shakespeare Company on Wednesday said that Japanese anime giant Hayao Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro” will be given a stage adaptation.

The famous animation film directed by Miyazaki and produced by Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli Inc. will be adapted into a stage play to be performed in London from October.

It is unusual for a major Japanese animation film to be brought to a theater in the British capital, a center of the global theatrical world.

Joe Hisaishi, who composed the music for the film, will serve as the play’s executive producer, while British playwright Tom Morton-Smith will adapt the work into the play. It will run between Oct. 8 this year and Jan. 21, 2023, at London’s Barbican Centre.

“This is a ground-breaking project,” Hisaishi said in a statement.

“If the story is universal, as I believe it is, it will have a global reach even if it is performed by people from different cultural backgrounds speaking different languages,” he added.

Hisaishi also revealed that he had told Miyazaki that he wanted to see a stage adaptation of the film. The celebrated anime director replied that he would support the idea only if Hisaishi was in charge of the play, according to Hisaishi.

Royal Shakespeare Company Acting Artistic Director Erica Whyman said, “After many years of development I am proud our collaboration with Joe Hisaishi and Studio Ghibli is taking flight at the Barbican in what is set to be a ground-breaking and spectacular theatrical event.”