On October 22, the global theatre phenomenon ‘War Horse’ opened in South Africa at The Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg, thrilling audiences and selling out two weeks ahead of its closing date at that venue. The production – presented in South Africa by Pieter Toerien, Rand Merchant Bank and The National Theatre of Great Britain, in association with Handspring Puppet Company – opens at the Artscape Opera House on December 5, where tickets are already in high demand.
‘War Horse’ is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the British in World War I. Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war before landing in No Man’s Land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home.
A tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, ‘War Horse’ features groundbreaking puppetry work by Handspring Puppet Company. Alex Sims has directed the production touring South Africa, with Katie Henry as associate director. The puppet design and puppetry directors are Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler from the Cape Town based Handspring Puppet Company.
Based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, who was Children’s Laureate from 2003 to 2005, ‘War Horse’ has been adapted by Nick Stafford.
More than two million people have seen the production in London, with over five million seeing the production worldwide since its opening at the National Theatre in 2007. During its successful run on Broadway, ‘War Horse’ received five Tony Awards, plus a special Tony for Handspring Puppet Company. The puppets in ‘War Horse’ are handmade by 14 of Handspring’s craftsmen and women.
Considering Handspring’s pivotal role in the production, Chris Harper, the producer of War Horse said, “…bringing the show to South Africa is a particularly special moment in its history.”
* Tickets cost from R100 to R450 via Computicket.