Studio Ghibli’s animated film ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ is coming to theatres as play, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to supply puppets

The 1988 animated film My Neighbor Totoro by Hayao Miyazaki will be presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Britain as a play. The Los Angeles-based animatronics and visual effects company Jim Henson’s Creature Shop has partnered with the Royal Shakespeare Company of Britain to create life-size puppets for the RSC’s theatrical production of the animated film.

My Neighbor Totoro, the RSC’s most ambitious project to date, is now being worked on by creatives at bases in London, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. This makes it even more ambitious than the award-winning theatre company’s original productions of the musicals Les Miserables and Matilda the Musical

The amusing tale of two young girls, 10-year-old Satsuki and her younger sister Mei, who relocate with their father to the country to be close to the hospital where their ailing mother is living, is told in Miyazaki’s 1988 Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro. The young girls venture into a nearby forest while their father is at work, where Satsuki encounters an ancient forest spirit she names Totoro, the forest’s protector. The girls are then swayed away on magical journeys with Totoro and the whimsical forest creatures. 

Tom Morton-Smith is the playwright, McDermott is the director, and Hisaishi is the executive producer. The stage version will have Hisaishi’s original score as well as extra music not featured in the movie. A 15-week run of My Neighbor Totoro will run from 8 October through January 2023.