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(Credit: Studio Ghibli)

Film

See behind-the-scenes shots of 'My Neighbour Totoro' stage show

Announced earlier in the year, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will be adapting the beloved Studio Ghibli anime My Neighbour Totoro for the stage in October 2022, with the company recently releasing a behind-the-scenes look at the production. 

Building some anticipation ahead of the release, the RSC announced that they had partnered with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, famous for the puppet work in The Muppet Show and Labyrinth to help bring the mythical creatures of the anime to life. Designed by the award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, the puppets are being built in LA, with designs including a life-sized Totoro. 

Speaking about the new project, Twist stated, “I feel an immense responsibility to bring the iconic characters of My Neighbour Totoro to life on stage. I want to honour these characters and capture the enchanting mystery of this beloved story. I want audiences to be inspired by the same feeling they get from the film when they meet Totoro on stage, so I chose to bring in the team at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to make sure we got it right”. 

Continuing, Twist added, “The Jim Henson Company is synonymous with imagination and childhood. I have been building puppets since I was a young boy, and to me there is still nothing more magical than when a seemingly inanimate object comes to life before your eyes”. 

Discussing the harmony between humans and nature, the story for the original film follows two girls who move to the country with their ill mother where they enjoy adventures with the magical spirits of the forest who live just outside their doorstep. Studio Ghibli’s most iconic tale is so for good reason, illustrating everything that the company strives for, as whilst My Neighbour Totoro is brightly coloured with endearing characters, it is also layered with genuine depth. 

The stage premiere of the new show will open at the Barbican on October 8, 2022. Until then, feast your eyes on the behind-the-scenes glimpse, provided by the RSC, below.