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RSC to première Totoro and revive Christmas Carol

Published: 28 April 2022
Reporter: Steve Orme

Phil Davis (Scrooge), Brigid Zengeni (Mrs Trowell) and Vivien Parry (Lady Tibshelf) in the 2017 RSC production of A Christmas Carol Credit: Manuel Harlan

The Royal Shakespeare Company has revealed its programme of productions for winter 2022 including the world première of the stage adaptation of Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro and the return of David Edgar’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

The 1988 animated feature film by Hayao Miyazaki, My Neighbour Totoro, will be brought to the stage by original composer Joe Hisaishi in an adaptation by Tom Morton-Smith. It will open at London’s Barbican for a 15-week season from Saturday 8 October until Saturday 21 January 2023.

Hisaishi said, “in Japan many people are passionate about theatre and musicals, but there are no original Japanese shows or musicals. Totoro is a Japanese work famous throughout the world, and so this stage adaptation could have the potential to reach global audiences.

“We chose to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and with their support we can make it happen. This is a ground-breaking project. Phelim McDermott is a wonderful director and his team are enthusiastic, creative and very hardworking. They love Totoro and the sense of anticipation is high.”

David Edgar’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol had its première in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford in 2017. It will return from Wednesday 26 October until Sunday 1 January 2023.

Edgar said, “when we premièred the show in 2017, millions were already relying on food banks and beggars haunted city streets. COVID and the cost-of-living crisis have made economic inequality—and raw poverty—an even more pressing reality.

“And yet, in the way the nation came together around the NHS to combat the pandemic, we’ve been reminded of the selflessness and generosity of spirit which lies at the heart of Dickens’s enduringly optimistic story.”

A Christmas Carol will run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from Wednesday 26 October until Sunday 1 January 2023.