Smash hit

16 April 2014

War Horse, the award-winning UK stage production that features groundbreaking puppetry work by Cape Town’s Handspring Puppet Company, will make its South African premiere later this year, the Artscape Theatre said in a statement on Tuesday.

The production, which has been seen by more than 5-million people since it opened at the National Theatre in London in 2007, is based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo. It tells the story of a young boy and his horse, taken into service by the British Army during the First World War.

It will be staged at Montecasino in Johannesburg in October, before moving to the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town in December.

‘Theatrical magic’

The production received five Tony Awards in 2011, including best play and a special award for Handspring Puppet Company. It has been hailed by the New York Times as “theatrical magic”.

“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,” said Chris Harper, the producer of War Horse.

“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.”

On tour

War Horse is in its sixth successful year in London’s West End. It is also on a major tour of North America, is running in Berlin (in German, called Gefahrten), 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.

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.

  • Read more about the Handspring Puppet Company: Tony Award for SA puppet company
  • War Horse opens at The Teatro at Montecasino in Fourways, Johannesburg, on 22 October, where it will run until 30 November. The season at the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town is from 5 December until 4 January 2015. Tickets cost R100 to R450 via Computicket or 0861 915 8000.

SAinfo reporter