War Horse to return to Sunderland

Peter Lathan

The National Theatre production of Nick Stafford’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel War Horse is to return to Sunderland Empire in 2019, from 6 to 23 February.

The production made its North East debut at the Empire in May 2014 where its three-week run sold out. Its 10th anniversary tour in 2018 and 2019 coincides with the centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War.

“It was a great honour to host the North East debut and successful run of War Horse in 2014,” said Ben Phillips, the Empire’s General Manager. “We are absolutely delighted that this critically acclaimed production will grace our stage once more in 2019, giving audiences another opportunity to see this poignant and highly charged production on tour.”

War Horse had its world première on 9 October 2007 at the National Theatre, where it played for two seasons before opening at the New London Theatre in March 2009. Since then, it has been seen in 97 cities in 10 countries, including productions on Broadway, in Toronto and Berlin, with touring productions in the UK and Ireland, North America, the Netherlands, Belgium and China.

War Horse is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, designed by Rae Smith, with puppet direction, design and fabrication by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler for Handspring Puppet Company. Lighting is by Paule Constable, and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick, with video design by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer for 59 Productions. The songmaker is John Tams; music is by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.

Katie Henry is the revival director and Craig Leo is the associate puppetry director. They are joined by resident puppetry director Matthew Forbes and resident director Charlotte Peters.

“After a few months rest, out at pasture,” said writer Michael Morpurgo, “Joey the War Horse and his great team from the National Theatre are touring the UK again, taking their show all over the country, to towns and cities, many of them places War Horse has not been seen before. I am so pleased this is happening; that so many more people will have the chance to enjoy this unique theatrical event.”