RSC casting for My Neighbour Totoro

Published: 24 August 2022
Reporter: Steve Orme

The cast and creative team of My Neighbour Totoro Credit: Manuel Harlan

Executive producer Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company have announced the full company for the première of Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro, which will open at London’s Barbican in autumn 2022.

Several of the company will take roles as well as being puppeteers. They include Haruka Abe (Yasuko), Nino Furuhata (Kanta), Susan Momoko Hingley (Miss Hara), Haruka Kuroda (nurse Emiko), Mei Mac (Mei), Kanako Nakano (Tsukiko), Ami Okumura Jones (Satsuki), Michael Phong Le (Hiroshi), Dai Tabuchi (Tatsuo) and Jacqueline Tate (Granny).

Other puppeteers will be Li-Leng Au, Boaz Chad, Andrew Futaishi, Zachary Hing, Yojiro Ichikawa, Arina Ii, Marian Lee, Matthew Leonhart, Aki Nakagawa, Tobi Poster-Su, Si Rawlinson and Shaofan Wilson.

My Neighbour Totoro will be directed by Phelim McDermott with production design by Tom Pye, costumes by Kimie Nakano, lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun and movement by You-Ri Yamanaka. The production will feature puppetry created by Basil Twist. Music from Joe Hisaishi’s score will feature in a new orchestration by Will Stuart, performed live with sound design by Tony Gayle.

Associate director is Ailin Conant. Artwork for the stage adaptation includes a hand-drawn title by Toshio Suzuki, producer for Studio Ghibli, who was involved in the planning and production of the original animated film.

My Neighbour Totoro will play a 15-week season at the Barbican from Saturday 8 October until Saturday 21 January 2023. Press night will be on Tuesday 18 October.

This coming-of-age story explores the magical fantasy world of childhood and the transformative power of imagination as it follows an extraordinary summer in the lives of sisters Satsuki and Mei. To be closer to their mother while she recovers from an illness in a rural convalescent hospital, their father moves the family to the countryside. As the girls explore their new surroundings, Mei encounters magical creatures and the ancient protector of the forest she calls Totoro.