Today saw the press launch for War Horse at Birmingham Hippodrome which coincides with the tickets going on general sale for its run between October 16 and November 9, 2013. This multi-award winning production has had phenomenal success since its original run at The National Theatre in 2007 and is celebrating its sixth year in London's West End. It has also had incredible acclaim on Broadway and has won six Tony Awards - no mean feat for any show!
The UK tour begins in September and will visit nine venues on its ten month tour, including the Birmingham Hippodrome. Following last year's film release of War Horse, the show has never had such a broad appeal as now, making it the perfect time to take it on the road.
At the launch earlier this week, we were treated to talks from the Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome Stuart Griffiths and the show's Director of Movement & Horse Choreography, Toby Olie.
Griffiths is clearly very proud to have this production at his venue and states it is a "major highlight" of the 2013 season.
Olie has a wonderful string of credits to his name including working with Danny Boyle on the London 2012 Olympic Ceremony. He won an Olivier Award for his efforts on War Horse in 2008 and it is very apparent that he adores his work. We were even treated to a visit from the star of the show, Joey himself. As he trotted across Level 2 of the Hippodrome, he was greeted by huge applause from the press and it is more than warranted. Olie took us through the mechanics of the stunning puppet and the hugely important roles that the three puppeteers have in bringing Joey to life. It is unbelievable how you can so easily forget that the horse is being operated.
Joey is one of eighteen puppets in the show, all created by South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company. They are made of cane and stretched georgette and being in such close proximity today, are superbly well made. Other puppets in the show include a goose, two swallows and two crows.
Nearly three million people have already had the pleasure of seeing the production worldwide and this will escalate rapidly following this tour. It is also currently touring around America, an Australian production has just opened and it is due to open in Berlin in October - overall a very exciting time for Michael Morpurgo's creation and it deserves every success.
War Horse opens at Birmingham Hippodrome in October. Book your tickets direct from the theatre's website or by telephone on 0844 338 5000.
Photo: War Horse On Stage