The global theatre phenomenon, War Horse, will be making its South African première later in 2014, beginning with a season at The Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg in October before transferring to the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town in December.
South African Handspring Puppet Company’s larger-than-life-size horse puppets perform in War Horse
Chris Harper, the producer of War Horse said: “The design, artistry and craftsmanship of Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler and everyone at Handspring Puppet Company has delighted War Horseaudiences around the world. Every single puppet used in the show was hand-crafted in Cape Town at Handspring’s puppet factory, and it is only fitting that they are returning to the country where they were created, to be enjoyed by South African audiences.”
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 remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, War Horse features groundbreaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage.
Based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, who has written over 100 books and was Children’s Laureate from 2003 to 2005, War Horse has been adapted by Nick Stafford. The production is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, designed by Rae Smith, lighting is by Paule Constable and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick. The puppet design and puppetry directors are Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, with video design by 59 Productions Ltd, song-making by John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.
The War Horse UK company comprises of James Alper (Stewart/Heine/Ludwig), Lee Armstrong (Albert Narracott), Peter Ash (Billy Narracott/Klebb/Heine), Emily Aston (Paulette), Nisa Cole (Emilie), Joe Darke (Topthorn Heart), David Fleeshman (Arthur Narracott), Adam Foster (Bone/Fine), Bob Fox (Song Man), Jason Furnival (Carter/Strauss), Tom Gilbey (Joey Head), Oliver Grant (Topthorn Head), Finn Hanlon (Captain Nicholls/Schweyk), Karl Haynes (Greig/Vet Martin), Karen Henthorn (Rose Narracott), Steven Hillman (Ted Narracott), Michael Humphreys (Joey Heart), Linford Johnson (Topthorn Hind), Andrew Keay (Joey Hind), Rebecca Killick (Baby Joey/Annie Gilbert), Tom Larkin (Double Hind), John Leader (Double Heart), Helen Macfarlane (Baby Joey/Matron Callagher), Sean McKenzie (Priest/Thunder), Alex Moran (Baby Joey/David), Suzanne Nixon (Double Hind), Tom Norman (Double Heart), Joseph Richardson (Goose/Bugle/Schnabel), Paul Simpson (Klausen), Gavin Swift (Geordie), Simeon Truby (Allan/Manfred), Peter Twose (Double Head), Richard Vorster (Double Head) and Martin Wenner (Friedrich).
War Horse is in its sixth successful year at London’s West End, on a major tour of North America, is running in Berlin (in German and called Gefährten) and is on a sell-out tour of the UK and Ireland. A new production will open in Amsterdam in June as part of the Holland Festival and then tour to five cities in the Netherlands in September.
As a brand, Rand Merchant Bank celebrates and rewards exceptional talent. RMB’s 32-year-old business philosophy of ‘Traditional values. Innovative ideas,’ is reinforced through arts events RMB supports – from William Kentridge’s innovative interpretation and directorship of Mozart’s traditionally classical Magic Flute, in 2007 – to helping bring the world-renowned War Horsetheatre production to South Africa. War Horse is a play that lives, breathes and challenges the imagination, making it a compelling branding partnership for RMB, as the alignment with creative and intellectual excellence in arts is an opportunity for the art of business to embrace the business of the arts. Helping to publically showcase South Africa’s arts, culture and heritage as a country differentiator and international calling card, also contributes to Nation-building. An increasing number of premium quality arts initiatives remind one of how many creative, gifted South Africans are making a positive difference to South Africa’s destiny.
War Horse opens first at The Teatro at Montecasino in Fourways, Johannesburg on Wednesday, 22 October where it runs until Sunday, 30 November. The season at the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town is from Friday, 5 December 2014 to Sunday, 4 January 2015. Tickets cost betweem R100 and R450 via Computicket or 0861 915 8000. For group bookings, phone Tracy in Cape Town on 021 438 3301 and Geraldine in Johannesburg on 011 511 1988.
War Horse is produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain. For more information, visit www.warhorseonstage.com.