The global theatre phenomenon War Horse will be making its South African première later this year, 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.
War Horse will be presented in South Africa by Pieter Toerien, Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and The National Theatre of Great Britain, in association with Handspring Puppet Company. The production has been seen by over 5 million people worldwide since its opening at the National Theatre in 2007. During its successful run on Broadway, it received five Tony Awards, plus a special Tony Award for Handspring Puppet Company.
Says Pieter Toerien, “I fell in love with War Horse when it first opened at the National Theatre in London nearly 7 years ago. The brilliant actors and the genius of South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company made War Horse an absolutely extraordinary evening in the theatre. I was determined to bring it to our audience so a dream is about to come true for me”.
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 Horse audiences 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 beautifully 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 Matt Addis (Captain Nicholls), 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/Schweyk), Bob Fox (Song Man), Jason Furnival (Carter/Strauss), Tom Gilbey (Joey Head), Oliver Grant (Topthorn Head), Karl Haynes (Greig/Klausen), 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), Harry Lobek (Vet Martin), 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), 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 in 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 opened 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 Horse theatre 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 our 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 publicly showcase SA’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 us of how many creative, gifted South Africans are making a positive difference to our country’s destiny. It is a great honour for RMB to partner Pieter Toerien and Handspring Puppet Company in bringing War Horse home.
Interesting Facts and Figures
(as at 15 May 2014)
The show’s history
· War Horse received its World Premiere at the National Theatre on 9 October 2007 and played in the Olivier for 92 performances until 14 February 2008 and was seen by over 104,000 people.
· War Horse returned to the National Theatre for a second run playing from 10 September 2008 – 18 March 2009 for a total of 114 performances and was seen by a further 130,000 people.
· War Horse transferred to the West End in 2009 with its first performance at the New London Theatre on 28 March 2009. War Horse is currently booking until 14 February 2015 at the New London Theatre.
· The New York production of War Horse opened on 14 April 2011 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center and ran until 6 January 2013.
· In February 2012 War Horse opened at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto, and ran until 6 January 2013.
· A US tour of War Horse began in Los Angeles on 14 June 2012 visiting places such as San Francisco, Dallas, Boston, Washington, Chicago and Seattle. It continues to tour North America until 22 June 2014.
· An Australian production opened at the Melbourne Arts Centre State Theatre on 31 December 2012 and then toured to Sydney and Brisbane.
· A tour of the UK and Ireland began in September 2013 – and continues to run until October 2014 – visiting Plymouth, Birmingham, Salford, Edinburgh, Southampton, Dublin, Sunderland, Bradford, Cardiff, Salford again and then Stoke-on-Trent.
· In October 2013 a German language production called Gerfärhten opened at the historic Theater des Westens in Berlin.
· In June 2014, a Dutch language production of War Horse will premiere in the Netherlands at the Royal Theatre Carré in Amsterdam as part of the Holland Festival. It will then tour around the Netherlands.
· On 25 October 2012 War Horse celebrated 5 years since it world premiere at the National Theatre. The celebrations at the New London Theatre were attended by an audience including Olympians, Paralympians, actors, sports stars and presenters.
· War Horse was broadcast to over 1000 cinemas worldwide by National Theatre Live on 27 February 2014.
· A South African tour beings in Johannesburg on 22 October 2014.
· In February 2011 the 1 millionth patron to see the production in London met with writer Michael Morpurgo and was photographed with horses Joey and Topthorn.
· As of May 2014 more than 2 million people have seen War Horse in London, with over 5 million seeing the production worldwide.
· The National Theatre Live screening of the West End production in February 2014, which was seen by over 350,000 people world-wide – breaking previous UK records for NT Live.
· War Horse has been seen by The Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Anne, Prince William and Prince Harry as well as other famous faces including Michael Caine, Rupert Everett, Ethan Hawke, James Earl Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Keira Knightley, Annie Lennox, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Miranda Richardson, Alan Rickman, Meg Ryan, Will Smith, Steven Spielberg, Hilary Swank, Alec Baldwin, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, Diana Ross, Diane Keaton, William Shatner, Barbara Walters, Hugh Jackman, Ricki Lake, Kate Winslet, George Lucas, Blythe Danner, Joan Rivers, John McEnroe, Queen Latifah, Martin Sheen, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Billy Crystal, Sting, Madonna, Guy Ritchie, Angela Lansbury, Elaine Stritch, Michael Buble, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Martin Clunes, Liza Minnelli, Nicole Scherzinger, Gary Barlow, Sir Bob Geldof, Tom Daley, Philip Schofield, Tana Ramsay, John Hurt, Natalie Gumede, Sir Steve Redgrave, Bill Bailey, Elizabeth Jagger and Greg Rutherford.
· Having seen the show at the New London Theatre, Steven Spielberg commissioned a new film adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel, which premiered in January 2012 and starred Jeremy Irvine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston and Emily Watson.
· The puppets in War Horse were created by Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones of South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, based in Cape Town.
· It takes eight months to build a complete set of puppets for War Horse; they are handmade by 14 craftsmen and women.
· The finished horse puppets weigh approximately 43 kilos for the body, including the puppeteers’ backpacks, and another 7.7 kilos for the head. They are made of cane, leather and tyvec, a material used in book-binding (for the manes and tails). The torso is reinforced with aluminium and able to carry a rider on top.
· Joey, Topthorn and Joey as a Foal are each operated by three puppeteers – the Head, the Heart and the Hind. The three puppeteers work together to create the character of each horse and to produce the horse noises.
· Puppeteers train for eight weeks before they begin performing. Their training includes basic principles of puppetry before they work specifically on creating the horses.
· War Horse has 23 puppets, including horses Joey and Topthorn, as well as a goose, two swallows and two crows.
· 2007 Evening Standard Award for Set Design – Rae Smith and Handspring Puppet Company
· 2007 Critics’ Circle Award for Set Design – Rae Smith and Handspring Puppet Company
· 2007 Laurence Olivier Awards for Set Design – Rae Smith and Handspring Puppet Company
· 2007 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Theatre Choreographer – Toby Sedgwick
· 2012 Whatsonstage Best West End Show Award
· 2011 Outer Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play
· 2011 Outer Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Director of a Play – Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris
· 2011 Outer Critics’ Circle Award Outstanding Lighting Design – Paule Constable
· 2011 Outer Critics’ Circle Special Achievement Award – Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler
· 2011 Drama Desk Special Award for Thrilling Stagecraft
· 2011 World Theatre Award – Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence -Seth Numrich
· 2011 Broadway.com Audience Awards Favourite Play
· 2011 Drama League Awards – Distinguished Production of a Play
· 2011 Special Tony Award – Handspring Puppet Company
· 2011 Tony Award – Best Play
· 2011 Tony Award for Best Director of a Play – Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris
· 2011 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play – Rae Smith
· 2011 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a Play – Paule Constable
· 2011 Tony Award for Best Sound Design of a Play – Christopher Shutt
· 2012 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards Best Design – The creative team of War Horse
· 2012 Toronto Dora Awards Outstanding Costume Design – Rae Smith, Adrian Kohler with Basil Jones for Handspring
Puppet Company for War Horse
· 2012 Toronto Dora Awards Outstanding Choreography – Toby Sedgwick for War Horse
· 2012 Toronto Dora Awards Audience Choice Award – War Horse
US Tour Awards
· 2012 Best Presented Production – LA Ovation Awards
· War Horse runs for approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes including one interval
· Suitable for 10 years plus
· Over 950 people have been employed world-wide on War Horse
Meet The Creative Team Behind War Horse
59 Productions / Projection and Animation Design
Led by directors Leo Warner, Mark Grimmer and Lysander Ashton, 59 Productions specialises in creating and integrating animation, film and video into live performance and real-world environments.
Recent design and video design for events and theatre includes David Bowie Is at the Victoria & Albert Museum and on a world tour; Feast at the Young Vic and Royal Court; London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony for LOCOG/IOC; 10 Billion at the Royal Court; War Horse in New York, London, Australia Tour and on a US tour; TED Global Conference for TED; Reise Durch Die Nacht and Request Programme for Schauspiel Köln; Fraulein Julie for Schaubühne Berlin; Black Watch at National Theatre Scotland; Beauty And The Beast, Really Old, Like Forty-Five, Mother Courage and Her Children, Time and the Conways, Waves, …some trace of her and Attempts on Her Life at the National Theatre. Video designs for opera include Al Gran Sole Carico D’Amore for Staatsoper Berlin and the Salzburg Festival; The Enchanted Island and 125th Gala Anniversary at the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Dark Sisters for Gotham Chamber Opera, MTG and the Opera Company Philadelphia. For the ENO: The Perfect American (also Teatro Real), Messiah (also Opera De Lyon), Two Boys, Satyagraha, Idomeneo, After Dido (also Young Vic) and Dr Atomic (also Metropolitan Opera). For the Royal Opera House, London: Eugene Onegin, The Minotaur and Salome. Video design for dance and live music includes: Britten Dances, Invitus Invitam, The Goldberg Project and Seven Deadly Sins for the Royal Ballet; Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2 Arena and on a world tour; Dorian Gray for New Adventures; and for 59, Fink ‘Perfect Darkness’ Tour (with Ninja Tune) and Jonsi ‘Go’ Tour.
59productions.co.uk / Adrian Sutton / Composer
Adrian Sutton’s scores for theatre have featured successful productions, including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the National Theatre and in London’s West End (joint Olivier Award for Sound Design). The production received a total of 7 awards out of 8 nominations at the 2013 Olivier’s. Further successes include Coram Boy and War Horse at the National Theatre for which he also received Olivier nominations; Coram Boy went on to open on Broadway in 2007 and in Bristol in 2011. War Horse transferred to London’s West End in 2009 and opened on Broadway in 2011. The Toronto production of War Horse opened in February 2011 and earned Adrian Sutton a Dora nomination in 2012, along with the whole creative team of War Horse, he also won a Drama Desk award. His War Horse Suite, a 20-minute symphonic orchestral work derived from the score for the show, was premiered by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010. Other work for theatre includes Nation and The Revenger’s Tragedy at the National Theatre. His extensive work for TV and film includes Jam, Blue Jam and the BAFTA-winning short film My Wrongs. Orchestral and chamber pieces: Sinfonietta and a Double Piano Sonata.
Alex Sims / Director of UK & Ireland Tour
As a director, Alex Sims’ work in theatre includes Yellow Face at the Park Theatre; The Promise for the Donmar Warehouse at the Trafalgar Studios; Coalition and Dov and Ali at Theatre503; and Jordan at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. He was associate director of War Horse at the New London Theatre in the West End and at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto.
Christopher Shutt / Sound Designer
For the National: Strange Interlude, The Effect, Timon of Athens, Last of the Haussmans, War Horse, The White Guard, Burnt by the Sun, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Happy Days, Coram Boy, Play Without Words, Hamlet, Albert Speer, Not About Nightingales, Machinal and Complicite: A Disappearing Number. Other work includes Drum Belly (Abbey, Dublin); All About My Mother, Moon for the Misbegotten (Old Vic and Broadway); Philadelphia Here I Come, Piaf, Man Who Had All The Luck (Donmar); Ruined, Judgment Day (Almeida); Love and Information, Kin, Aunt Dan and Lemon, Serious Money, Road (Royal Court); Bull (also off-Broadway), The Caretaker (Sheffield Crucible); Nocturnal (Gate); My Sons (Broadway); The Bacchae, Little Otik (National Theatre of Scotland); Tempest, Twelfth Night, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, King John and Romeo and Juliet (RSC); Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (New York with Al Pacino, music by Tom Waits). Radio: Shropshire Lad, Tennyson’s Maud. Tony Award: War Horse; New York Drama Desk Awards: War Horse, Mnemonic, Not About Nightingales. Olivier Award nominations: Coram Boy, War Horse, Piaf, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.
Craig Leo / Puppetry Director UK & Ireland Tour
Craig Leo is a puppeteer, performer and designer. He was apprenticed to South African circus guru Keith Anderson and trained with Zip Zap Circus. He has worked and toured as a puppeteer with Handspring Puppet Company. His productions with Handspring include Tall Horse, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse, House of the Dancing Water, Or You Could Kiss Me and War Horse, for which he created the role of lead horse and was associate puppetry director in the West End. In South Africa, his designs include costumes for Bolero, Romeo and Juliet, Afro-Dizzia and Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat; production design for Medea, Bolero, Rain in a Dead Man’s Footprints, Cargo, Partly God, Lovaffair, London Road, Wombtide, Benchmarks, The Flying Dutchman, ‘Nite Mother and The Heart of Redness. Recent designs for opera include The Flower of Shembe; Voices Made Night (set) at the Magnet Theatre; and Waiting for the Barbarians for theatres in Cape Town and Montreal.
Jacquie Crago / Voice and Dialects
This is Jacquie Crago’s fourth year with War Horse. Other theatre work includes, for the National Theatre: One Man Two Guvnors (tour); for the RSC: The Canterbury Tales, Much Ado About Nothing, Comedy of Errors, Othello, Tender Thing, Days of Significance, Cardenio and The Merchant of Venice; for Headlong: Angels in America; for Manchester Royal Exchange: Roots and A Taste of Honey; for Bill Kenwright Productions: The Glass Menagerie; for The Cheltenham Everyman: The Glass Menagerie and Cider with Rosie. She also works as an actor and director and leads workshops in drama schools, universities and theatres throughout the country.
Johanna Coe / Associate Costume Designer
Johanna Coe’s work includes the original production of War Horse for
the National Theatre in the Olivier Theatre in September 2007; and
various incarnations of War Horse at the New London Theatre, New York’s Lincoln Center in 2011, Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre in 2012; the US tour to Boise (Idaho), Los Angeles; and the upcoming War Horse UK tour in 2013. In Germany, her work includes, as Costume Supervisor, The Phantom of the Opera (also at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London) at the Neue Flora in Hamburg and, as Costume Designer, Der Leser, das Tier und die Bucklige in Heidelberg. Her Australian work also includes The Street of Crocodiles and The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Other shows include: Aspects of Love for The Really Useful Group. She has worked on Opera revivals for the late Maria Bjornson; Katya Kabanova, Tales of Hoffman, and Der Rosen Kavalier at the Royal Opera House.
John Tams / Songmaker
John Tams’ work has spanned 5 decades in every performance medium. He is a recognised authority on vernacular music – a 7 times winner at the BBC Folk Awards. Theatre includes work at the Old Vic, the RSC, The Globe, Sheffield Crucible, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Joint Stock, Chichester Festival Theatre and 7:84. At the National, he has worked as actor and musical director/composer on over 30 productions including, The Mysteries, Larkrise to Candleford, Glengarry Glen Ross, many of which transferred to the West End or toured. He played Daniel Hagman in the TV series Sharpe, for which he was script associate, co-writing the score. For radio, he was executive MD of the Radio Ballads winning Gold at the Sony Radio Academy Awards. He worked with Steven Spielberg on the movie of War Horse. His adaptation of the book tours as a ‘concert’ reading with author Michael Morpurgo, inspired by a BBC Radio 2 version of War Horse which he directed featuring Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn and Bob Hoskins. He has made over 80 albums and continues to tour festivals and concert stages. He holds Honorary Doctorates from Sheffield Hallam and Derby universities. johntams.co.uk
Jonathon Lyle / Video Associate
Jonathon Lyle trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was the Technical Manager at 59 Productions; roles included Programmer, Technical Manager and Video Designer. As a freelancer, he has worked on projects in theatre, museums, exhibitions and television, while maintaining his educational work at the National Youth Theatre. Jonathon Lyle’s design credits include: London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony (Associate Video Designer) for LOCOG; The Cripple of Inishmaan (Video Designer) for the Michael Grandage Company; The Yellow Wallpaper (Video Designer) at Schaubuhne, Berlin; Under the Dark Cloth (Production Designer) for Duke Special. Other work includes: David Bowie Is (Technical Manager) at the V&A; The Canticles (Video) at the Royal Opera House; Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Tour (Video Programmer); Dr Dee (Video Programmer) at Manchester International Festival; Al Gran Sole Carico d’Amore (Technical Manager) at Salzburger Festspiele and Schaubuhne, Berlin; Dorian Grey (Video Programmer) for New Adventures and 59 Productions; Brief Encounter (Electrician) for Kneehigh.
Karen Spahn / Associate Lighting Designer
Karen Spahn’s work as an associate lighting designer include: South Pacific on Broadway (also US tour); Wicked on Broadway (also US tours and international productions); Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Tour in the US; War Horse on Broadway (also US tour); Promises, Promises and Thoroughy Modern Millie on Broadway. Design credits include: My Fair Lady for Cardinal Stage; Guys and Dolls at the Riverside Theatre; and West Side Story, King and I, Guys and Dolls, Flower Drum Song (AMTSJ), designs for Hersheypark and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
Katie Henry trained at the National Theatre Studio (Director’s Course), the Orange Tree Theatre (Trainee Director Scheme) and St Mary’s University College (MA and BA Degree). As director, her work includes Yerma at St Mary’s University; The Slug in the Shoe, Two Gentleman, Much Ado About Nothing for White Horse Theatre in Germany; Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet/The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Last Train to Nibroc at the Orange Tree; and Iron at BAC. As assistant/resident director, War Horse in the West End; Lady in the Van at Hull Truck and on tour; The Years Between at The Royal & Derngate, Northampton; Aladdin and The Daughter-in-Law at Watford Palace Theatre; Cling to Me Like Ivy at Birmingham Rep and on tour; and Crocodile Seeking Refuge for iceandfire theatre company on tour. As trainee director at the Orange Tree, The Suitcase Kid, Once We Were Mothers, The Woman Hater, Next Door’s Baby, The Girlz, De Monfort and Chains of Dew.
Marianne Elliott / Director
Marianne Elliott is an Associate Director of the National Theatre, where she has co-directed War Horse (also West End and Broadway; Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play), and directed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (also West End; Olivier Awards for Best Director and Best New Play; South Bank Sky Arts Award), Port, Season’s Greetings, Women Beware Women, All’s Well That Ends Well, Mrs Affleck, Harper Regan, Saint Joan (Olivier Award for best revival, South Bank Show Award), Thérèse Raquin, and Pillars of the Community (Evening Standard Best Director Award). She was an Associate Director at the Royal Court, where her productions include Stoning Mary, Notes on Falling Leaves, The Sugar Syndrome and Local. Previously she was an Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester where she directed Port, Design for Living, Les Blancs, As You Like It, A Woman of No Importance, Nude with Violin, Fast Food, Martin Yesterday, Deep Blue Sea, Mad for It, Poor Superman and I Have Been Here Before. Other theatre includes Much Ado About Nothing for the RSC in 2006; The Little Foxes at the Donmar; and Terracotta at Hampstead and Birmingham Rep.
Matthew Forbes / Puppetry Assistant
Matthew Forbes trained as an actor at Central School of Speech & Drama, specialising in Collaborative & Devised Theatre. He has worked with War Horse for several years as an actor, puppeteer and most recently as part of the creative team. As a puppeteer he performed in Australia, New Zealand, Berlin, Hamburg, Birmingham and London, promoting new productions of War Horse. He began performing in the West End production of War Horse in 2010, and has operated Joey’s Head, Joey’s Hind, Baby Joey, and appeared as Billy on many occasions. Other theatre includes: Beauty and the Beast (Dundee Rep); The Man Who Caught the Biggest Fish in the World (Old Vic New Voices); Permission to Play (Shakespeare’s Globe). TV includes Robin Hood; films include Hot Fuzz and The Silent Cormorant. He is currently recording the voice for one of the lead characters in a new Disney animation cartoon series. matthewforbes.co.uk
Matthew Gough / Music Associate
Matthew Gough trained at the University of Surrey in Music and Sound Recording. Following graduation from the Tonmeister course, he worked as an independent classical music engineer, producer, and editor for, amongst others, Decca, EMI and many other smaller labels. He then worked in post-production sound for film, beginning at post house Boom, working with Paul Hamblin. Shortly after, he moved on to De Lane Lea, gaining experience and working on high-profile film projects. Whilst at De Lane Lea, he received a nomination for a BAFTA for his work with Walter Murch and Mike Prestwood-Smith on Cold Mountain. In 2005, he left De Lane Lea to pursue a freelance career as a Re-recording Mixer, Sound Supervisor and Director of Sound. Matthew Gough has worked all over the world on both large-scale films (The Brothers Grimm, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Cold Mountain) and smaller independent ones, including Anthony Minghella’s Breaking and Entering and Lisa Gornick’s Do I Love You?
Handspring Puppet Company / Puppet Direction, Puppet Design & Fabrication
Handspring was founded in 1981 by four graduates of the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town. Two of the co-founders, Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones, continue to run the company. Originally they created shows for children and toured them to schools in South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia. Their first adult production was Episodes of an Easter Rising in 1985, presented at the Seventh UNIMA Festival of Puppet Theatre in Charleville-Mézières, France. Thereafter they collaborated with a succession of innovative South African directors including Malcolm Purkey of Junction Avenue Theatre Company who directed Tooth and Nail. In 1990 Barney Simon, co-founder of the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, directed Starbrites!, a fable of renewal after the release of Nelson Mandela. It was seen at the Tricycle as part of LIFT 1991. With Woyzeck on the Highveld in 1992 they began a decade of collaborations with the artist William Kentridge, combining puppets and film animation. Other productions with Kentridge were Faustus in Africa, seen at BAC, Ubu and the Truth Commission, seen at the Tricycle, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse, Zeno at 4am and Confessions of Zeno. In 2000, Handspring created The Chimp Project, depicting the rehabilitation of a tame chimpanzee into the wild. This was the first of three productions with animals as central characters. It was followed by Tall Horse, with the Malian puppet company, Sogolon, which focuses on the gift of a giraffe by the Pasha of Egypt to the King of France in 1827. War Horse was the third. Apart from seasons in theatres across South Africa, Handspring has been presented at many international festivals including Edinburgh, the Avignon Festival, the Next Wave Festival at BAM in New York, The African Odyssey Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, Théâtre d’Automne, Paris, Theatre der Welt in Germany, and in Hong Kong, Singapore, Adelaide, Zurich and Bogota. In 2008 they restaged Woyzeck on the Highveld in South Africa, at the Perth UNIMA2008 festival, in Brisbane and Norway, when the company were artists in residence as part of Stavanger 2008, the European City of Culture Festival. In 2009 they produced a new set of puppets for War Horse’s transfer to Broadway in April 2011. In 2010 they co-created Or You Could Kiss Me with Neil Bartlett and Rae Smith at the National Theatre. They also appeared in the production and designed and made the puppets.
Adrian Kohler is Handspring’s puppet designer and maker. His works have been exhibited at the SA National Gallery, Cape Town and by the Museum for African Art in New York. Kohler’s puppets are represented in the collections of the Stadtmuseum Munich, the SA Constitutional Court, Johannesburg and the Old Mutual Art Collection in Cape Town. The company has won many South African theatre awards. For War Horse, they received the 2007 London Critics’ Circle Award, the Evening Standard Award and the Olivier Award for design. handspringpuppet.co.za
Michael Morpurgo / Author
Michael Morpurgo read English, French and Philosophy at King’s College, London. As a young man he was a teacher. With his wife Clare he founded the charity Farms for City Children. In 1999 they were awarded the MBE for their work together. In 1976 his first book was published and he went on to become the award-winning author of over 100 books for children, including War Horse, Private Peaceful, Farm Boy, Kensuke’s Kingdom, The Mozart Question, On Angel Wings, Running Wild, Born to Run, Shadow and Medal for Leroy. Many of his books have been made into films, including Friend or Foe, My Friend Walter and Why the Whales Came. From 2003-05 Michael Morpurgo was Children’s Laureate, in 2005 he was made Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government and in 2006 he was awarded an OBE for services to literature. In 2007 the National Theatre adapted his book War Horse for the stage. After two years the production moved to the New London Theatre in the West End. Steven Spielberg’s film of War Horse was released in 2011. The stage show opened in New York in April 2011, and in Toronto in February 2012; and there was US tour in July 2012. michaelmorpurgo.com
Nick Stafford / Adaptor
Nick Stafford adapted War Horse for the NT, 2007. His play Battle Royal premiered in the Olivier in 1999. His other work includes Katherine Desouza, The Devil’s Only Sleeping and The Whisper of Angels’ Wings at Birmingham Rep; Love Me Tonight at Hampstead; Luminosity for the RSC; The Go Between at Northampton Theatre Royal; The Snow Queen at the Young Vic; Moll Cutpurse and Easy Prey for Avon Touring; The Devils Only Sleeping at New Perspectives; Listen With Da Da at the Serpentine Gallery and Bad City at the Half Moon. His work for radio includes The Fire Inside, A Year and a Day, The List, La Petite Mort, Ring of Roses and A Matter of Sex (winner of the Sony Gold Award for Best Original Script). Adaptations for radio include A Thousand Acres, Birdsong and Frankenstein. Previously writer-in-residence at Birmingham Rep, the Young Vic and the Half Moon; Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at Roehampton University. Winner of the Dennis Potter Play of the Year Award for his screenplay Pity. Also writer of the short film The Missing Finger. His first novel, Armistice, was published in 2009, and he is currently working on his second one as well as various screenplays.
John Owens / Associate Sound Designer
John Owens’ sound designs include A Doll’s House (also Broadway), When Harry Met Sally and Driving Miss Daisy (also tour) in London; Tape, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People at Soho Theatre; The Three Sisters and Dead Funny at Chichester; Betrayal at the Donmar; Faeries at ROH2; and Blue Man Group at the Monte Carlo, Las Vegas. Associate sound designs include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Waiting for Godot, Company, One Man Two Guvnors (also Broadway), Death of a Salesman (transfer from Broadway) and Passion in the West End; War Horse in New York, Toronto, US tour, Australia and Germany; Dr Dee at Manchester International Festival and ENO; Nine, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along at the Donmar; Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling, Edward Scissorhands, The Car Man; Blue Man Group in London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Tokyo; Billy Elliot the Musical in London, Australia, USA and Korea; Mary Poppins in the UK, on a US tour and in Europe; The Blue Room and Private Lives on Broadway. He is Head of US Studio Charcoalblue LLC, the theatre consultancy.
Paul Benzing / Fight Director
Theatre includes Statement of Regret, Mother Courage, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Nation, A Woman Killed With Kindness, Emperor and Galilean, Antigone, His Girl Friday, No Man’s Land, Pillar of the Community, The Prince’s Play (National); National Anthems (The Old Vic); Sweeney Todd, Private Lives (also West End), Heartbreak House (Chichester Festival); Here (Rose); Making Noise Quietly (Donmar); West Side Story (Sage Gateshead); Wild Oats (Bristol Old Vic); Oleanna (Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham); Into the Woods, The Comedy of Errors (Regent’s Park Open Air); What the Butler Saw, Beasts and Beauties (Hampstead); Troilus and Cressida (Cheek by Jowl); Othello (Ludlow Festival); Dreams of Violence, Flight Path (Out of Joint); Black Comedy, Our Country is Good, Moonlight and Magnolias, Of Mice and Men, Sleuth (Watermill); Clockwork Orange, Son of Man, Look Back in Anger, Our Friends in the North, Close the Coalhouse Door (Northern Stage); King Lear, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Sheffield Crucible); American Buffalo (Broadway); Mack and Mabel, Journey’s End, The Country Wife, The Sea, Marguerite (West End).
Paule Constable / Lighting Designer
Paule Constable’s theatre work includes, for the National, Table, This House, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Phèdre, Death and the King’s Horseman, Waves, Saint Joan, and Warhorse. Other work in theatre includes Clybourne Park, and The Weir at the Royal Court; Love Never Dies, Oliver!, Ivanov and Evita in the West End; Privates on Parade and Peter and Alice and The Cripple of Inishmaan for MGC; The Chalk Garden and Othello, for the Donmar; Feast and Vernon God Little at the Young Vic; Blasted at the Lyric Hammersmith. She has designed operas throughout the world, most recently Medea and Dr Dee for ENO; The Cunning Little Vixen and Meistersinger for Glyndebourne; and Anna Bolena for the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Dance includes Sleeping Beauty, Play Without Words and Dorian Gray for Matthew Bourne.
She is the recipient of a Tony, 4 Olivier Awards, 2 LA Critics Circle Awards and both New York Drama Desk and Critics’ Circle Awards.
Rae Smith / Designer
Rae Smith’s work for the National includes: This House, The Veil, Season’s Greetings, Or You Could Kiss Me, All’s Well That Ends Well, War Horse, (Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Set Design), Saint Joan, The Seafarer (also Broadway), Pillars of the Community, Theatre of Blood, Closing Time, The Visit and The Street of Crocodiles. Other work includes Wagner’s Ring Cycle (Grand Prix 2011 for Outstanding Achievement in Opera) at Opéra du Rhin, Strasbourg; Sweet Bird of Youth at the Old Vic; Cavelieri Rusticano and Pagliacchi at the Met NY; Benvenuto Cellini at the ENO; The Tempest and Prince of the Pagodas for Birmingham Royal Ballet and The Rite of Spring and Petruska for Fabulous Beast. Rae Smith has recently published War Horse an Illustrated Special Edition and further information about drawings can be seen at raesmith.co.uk
Terry Davies / Music Director
Terry Davies is an Olivier Award-winning composer and conductor. He is an associate artist of Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures dance company, writing music for The Car Man, Play Without Words (Olivier Award), Edward Scissorhands, Dorian Gray and Lord of the Flies. He has written many original theatre scores including, for the National, The Voysey Inheritance, Edmond, Scenes From the Big Picture, Luther, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Misanthrope, Neaptide, The Festival of New Plays, Antigone and Tales From Hollywood. Musicals include The Birds (4 years at Istanbul City Theatre), and Kes! – The Musical at the Bolton Octagon and York Theatre Royal.
He has been a conductor for more than 50 films, including The King’s Speech, Keeping Rosie, Jadoo, Another Year, W.E., The Illusionist and Brideshead Revisited. As a composer for TV, work includes The Car Man, Matthew Bourne’s Christmas and Tipping the Velvet (BAFTA nomination). As conductor for TV dramas and documentaries, work includes Henry V, Room on the Broom, Accused, The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Red Riding (1974), Zen, The Lost Prince and Shooting the Past.
Toby Sedgwick / Director of Movement and Horse Choreography
Toby Sedgwick trained at L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq, where he founded The Moving Picture Mime Show, which established itself as one of the innovators of physical theatre throughout the world. He won the 2008 Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer for War Horse and played Ted Narracott in the original production. He was part of Danny Boyle’s creative team for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games and choreographed the Green and Pleasant Land and Pandemonium (Industrial Revolution) sequences. As Director of Movement work includes; War Horse (West End, Broadway, Toronto US Tour, Australia); Frankenstein (National Theatre); Swallows and Amazons (Bristol Old Vic); The 39 Steps (West End, Broadway and worldwide). Credits as an actor: War Horse (National Theatre); The Tempest (Royal Exchange, Manchester); Animal Crackers (West End); and The Play What I Wrote (UK tour) Work with Complicite includes: The Master and Margarita; A Dog’s Heart; The Noise of Time; Light; Out of a House Walked a Man; and Help! I’m Alive. Film includes 28 Days Later, Laisser Passer, Shrooms and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang.
Tom Morris / Director
Tom Morris is Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic and Associate Director of the National Theatre. As Artistic Director of Battersea Arts Centre from 1995 to 2004 he wrote Ben Hur, Jason and the Argonauts and World Cup Final 1966 with Carl Heap and directed many shows including Newsnight the Opera, Macbeth and Othello Music. He also founded BAC Opera, which launched Jerry Springer: The Opera and the opera company Tête à Tête. War Horse, which he conceived and co-directed with Marianne Elliot, won five Tony awards (including best director) in 2011 and is playing internationally. For Bristol Old Vic, Tom Morris’ work includes Swallows and Amazons, Juliet And Her Romeo, Bristol Proms and his most recent collaboration with Handspring Puppet Company, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He has also launched Bristol Ferment, Bristol Old Vic’s artist development programme, and created Bristol Jam – a festival of improvisation. Other credits include: Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, and Coram Boy at the National Theatre; The Death of Klinghoffer at the ENO and Metropolitan Opera; Nights at the Circus and The Wooden Frock for Kneehigh.
Tom Snell is a freelance lighting designer and associate. Recent lighting designs include Untold Stories by Alan Bennett directed by Nick Hytner at the National Theatre and Duchess Theatre; and The Bacchai for Central School of Speech and Drama. He previously worked at the National Theatre where he assisted the lighting designer on productions of Oedipus, War Horse, Her Naked Skin, Twelfth Night, Last of The Hausmanns, England People Very Nice, The Power of Yes, Season’s Greetings and The White Guard among others. Re-lights for the National: One Man, Two Guvnors UK tour and at the Adelphi theatre. Associate Lighting Designer for One Man, Two Guvnors at The Music Box Theatre, New York. Previous re-lights include UK tours of Paradise Lost, Restoration, Angels in America and Rough Crossing for Headlong Theatre. Other professional lighting design credits include Jerry Springer: The Opera for Arts Educational School and Troilus and Cressida for CSSD.
William Fricker / Associate Set Designer
William Fricker has worked for the original designer of War Horse, Rae Smith, for 12 years on numerous shows in the UK and around the world. He was her assistant for the original production of War Horse, has worked on every incarnation since and was promoted to associate set designer for the tours of the US, UK, Australia and Berlin. He has also designed his own shows for venues and companies which include British Youth Opera, The Royal Court, Redshift Theatre, Salisbury Playhouse, The Citizens Theatre Glasgow, The Watermill, The Theatre Chipping Norton, Margate Theatre Royal, Hampstead Theatre, British Youth Opera, W11 Opera and Greenwich Theatre. You can see his work on williamfricker.co.uk
War Horse opens first at The Teatro at Montecasino in Fourways, Johannesburg on 22 October where it runs until 30 November 2014. The season at the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town is from 5 December 2014 until 4 January 2015. Tickets cost from R100 to R450 via Computicket or 08619158000.
War Horse is produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain – www.warhorseonstage.com <http://www.warhorseonstage.com/> .
For Media enquiries:
Allison Foat, publicist for the season at the Artscape Opera House and National PR oversight: 0214627384 / 0836356312 / firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> / Mark Sage, publicist for the season at The Teatro at Montecasino: 011 511 1988 / firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>