London Theatre TicketsLondon Theatre NewsMy Neighbour Totoro sets a course for West End

My Neighbour Totoro sets a course for West End


An enduring classic

My Neighbour Totoro (1988) was an animated fantasy film by renowned director Hayao Miyazaki, released through Studio Ghibli. The story follows the adventures of two young girls grappling with big feelings in a small world, an experience they process through trips into the fantastical.

The coming-of-age story was adapted into a stage play in 2022, with Miyazaki's blessing on the condition that his longtime collaborator, composer Joe Hisaishi, would work on the play. With all the chips in place, the production was all set to bring one of the most beloved animated films to life.

And now, the play makes its way to West End from its previous home at the Barbican Centre.

New home, same old magic

My Neighbour Totoro featured some of the best puppetry theater has seen. The characters from the original were visually distinct with unique personalities. Bringing them to the stage was no easy feat, but this production did just that.

The play made record sales, setting a new Barbican Centre box-office record. It returned for a second season in 2023, running through March 2024. With multiple awards, including six Oliviers, under its belt, the play benched doubts about the movie's adaptability for the stage.

And now, the play will bring its magic to the Gillian Lynne Theatre in 2025 for a 34-week run. Phelim McDermott will return to direct. Speaking of the upcoming run, he stated, "Spending time with these characters and with Miyazaki’s incomparable gentle giant has been both a joy and an honor, and I can’t wait to once again share this show with audiences both new and returning."

Hisaishi's score is amplified under Will Stuart's orchestration with sound design by Tony Gayle. While the original starred Ami Okumura Jones and Mei Mac as Satsuki and Mei, respectively, the new production is yet to announce its cast.

The stunning production features designs by Tom Pye, costumes by Kimie Nakano, lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun, movement by You-Ri Yamanaka, and puppetry by Basil Twist. With video design by Finn Ross and Andrea Scott and artwork from Studio Ghibli's Toshio Suzuki, this is a spectacle worth witnessing in its full theatrical glory.

Catch My Neighbour Totoro at West End's Gillian Lynne Theatre this coming season.