SPIRITED AWAY re-imagined for the stage opens at the London Coliseum
Studio Ghibli’s SPIRITED AWAY, created by legendary animator and director Hayao Miyazaki, has beenre-imagined for the stage by Toho Theatrical Department and Olivier and Tony Award-winning director John Caird (Les Misérables). Following a sell-out tour of Japan in 2022, the original Japanese cast including Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi, who play Chihiro, will perform this spectacular production for a strictly limited London season. The production will be presented in the original Japanese, with English captions. Miyazaki’s masterpiece is brought beautifully to life with a live orchestra playing the magnificent film score by Joe Hisaishi arranged by Brad Haak (Mary Poppins), dazzling set design by Jon Bausor (Bat Out of Hell), wildly imaginative puppets designed by Toby Olié (Pinocchio: National Theatre), choreography by Shigehiro Ide (NODA MAP Series), and lavish costumes by Sachiko Nakahara.
Director Hayao Miyazaki's timeless masterpiece SPIRITED AWAY became an explosive blockbuster after its 2001 release and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film in 2003. A masterpiece of storytelling and stunning visuals SPIRITED AWAY tells the enchanting tale of Chihiro who while traveling to a new home with her family, stumbles into a world of fantastic spirits ruled over by the sorceress Yubaba. When her parents are turned
into pigs and she is put to work in a magical bathhouse, Chihiro must use her wits to survive in this strange new place, find a way to free her parents, and return to the normal world.
Director, John Caird said “I am proud and delighted to present the original Japanese stage production of SPIRITED AWAY at the Coliseum Theatre next year. We had a wonderful time creating the show in 2022 and I’m so happy now to be spiriting away a British audience into Hayao Miyazaki’s magical world. A world of gods and frogs, dragons and sorcerers, giant-sized babies and bouncing heads, spider-armed boilermen, no-faced loners and a young girl’s valiant quest for courage, identity and love.”
Toshio Suzuki, Producer of Studio Ghibli, said “The day we first met John Caird, Hayao Miyazaki and I thought he was the perfect director for the production –– that was the beginning of this project. It was thanks to the hard work of John, the cast, and all those involved that the premiere production received such high acclaim. I wish to express my deepest respect to all involved in the creation of this monumental piece of theatre. I really look forward to SPIRITED AWAY being enjoyed by audiences in London.”
Hiroyasu Matsuoka, President of TOHO Co Ltd, said “The stage play SPIRITED AWAY is finally arriving in London. Since the 1970s, Toho has licensed original musicals for overseas productions, but for the first time in over ninety years of Toho's history, a Japan-born company is crossing the sea and going out to the world for a three-month run, to perform in the Japanese language. It is my sincere hope that Chihiro, created by director Hayao Miyazaki, producer Toshio Suzuki, and everyone at Studio Ghibli, will be loved even more in theatres all across the world.”
Iain Gillie, of PW Productions said “When we visited Japan to see Toho’s production of SPIRITED AWAY in 2022, we were blown away and knew it had to be shared with audiences far and wide. We’re thrilled to be working with Toho and the extraordinary creative team on this magnificent production.”
Stuart Murphy, from The London Coliseum said “The London Coliseum is thrilled to present the European premiere of SPIRITED AWAY and host what will be a unique and extraordinary cultural event. We look forward to collaborating with renowned international producers Toho Co Ltd and PW Productions and welcoming the original Japanese company to the capital in Spring 2024.”
The role of Chihiro will be alternated by two Japanese actors, Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi.
Kanna Hashimoto said, “SPIRITED AWAY, premiered at the Imperial Theatre in 2022 and has been seen by countless audiences, is now coming to the London Coliseum from April to July 2024! I am so proud to be acting as Chihiro in London. We have so far been delivering the show in Japanese to the audience in Japan, and the question now is how we will convey it to the audience in London, I imagine we will be bringing in new ways to express this show. I am very much looking forward to it, at the same time as already starting to worry about the rehearsals!”
Mone Kamishiraishi said, “It is a great honour to be able to perform the show in Japanese just as we did in Japan. I am looking forward to seeing how the show that Japanese audiences enjoyed so much will reach London audiences, and I feel very happy and honoured. It is very exciting that there will also be a National tour of Japan running as well as the April-July run in West End, London. Please come and meet Chihiro! We will be waiting for you at the theatre!”
TOHO Co Ltd is the leading production company of theatre and film in Japan, internationally recognized for the Godzilla series and for Akira Kurosawa’s masterpieces. Its theatrical department has presented numerous original and licensed musicals and plays in Japan, including Broadway and West End imports such as Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, My Fair Lady, Man of La Mancha, Fiddler on the Roof, La Cage Aux Folles, RENT, Jekyll & Hyde, Next to Normal, Jersey Boys, Beautiful The Carole King Musical, Waitress and The Producers among many others. Recently, Toho has co-produced the Broadway musical Tootsie. Toho has also produced the Japanese versions of musicals from Central Europe, including Elisabeth, Mozart! and Rebecca the Musical. The company also collaborated to create the original musicals Marie Antoinette and Lady Bess with the creators of Elisabeth, Michael Kunze (book and lyrics) and Sylvester Levay (music). Marie Antoinette was licensed and presented in Germany, Korea and Hungary. In 2017, Toho presented a new production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It directed by Michael Mayer, music by Tom Kitt, choreography by Lorin Latarro. Previous productions with John Caird include Les Misérables (original production co-directed by Trevor Nunn), Beggar’s Opera, Candide, Private Lives, Daddy Long Legs, Twelfth Night and Knights’ Tale. Alongside this London production, TOHO Co Ltd will also present SPIRITED AWAY on a National Tour of Japan in 2024.
PW Productions Ltd is one of the West End’s most prolific and significant theatre producers, responsible for some of the most successful productions in British theatre since it was founded in 1983 by Peter Wilson MBE. Productions have included Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, An Inspector Calls, Sting’s The Last Ship and many more. The company has acted as General Manager and Production Accountant for more than 600 productions throughout the world. PW Productions, in partnerships with promoters and co-producers, has also presented work in Japan, Singapore, Canada, USA, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, Australia and Hong Kong.
With 2,359 seats, the London Coliseum is the largest theatre in London’s West End. Designed for Sir Oswald Stoll by Frank Matcham, Stoll’s ambition was to create the largest and finest ‘people’s palace of entertainment’ of the age. The theatre has been the home of the English National Opera since 1968 as well as continuing to be used as a theatre by a range of art forms, including musical theatre, dance and ballet, comedy, podcast and broadcast recordings, and live music.
SPIRITED AWAY is based on the Oscar-winning animated feature film by Hayao Miyazaki, adapted by John Caird, co-adapted by Maoko Imai and featuring the original score by Joe Hisaishi.