Studio Ghibli classic Spirited Away is being adapted for the stage

Open! The! Theatres!

by Roisin Lanigan
01 March 2021, 12:23pm

Still from Spirited Away

Welcome to March, marking a whole year since the beginning of our lockdown hell timeline! Understandably, we’re looking forward to being able to get out in the world again, and as of now, a new stage adaptation of Studio Ghibli’s iconic movie Spirited Away is high up on the post-COVID to-do list. 

This is technically a bigger trip than a quick jaunt to the West End, however. The stage version of the 2001 film will premiere at Tokyo’s Imperial Theatre next February, before touring cities across Japan, stopping off in Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo and Nagoya. 

In an announcement posted to Instagram, Studio Ghibli shared the poster for Spirited Away, produced by Japanese company Toho Co. Ltd, to celebrate its 90th birthday. Work appears to already be well underway on the production, with Tony and Olivier Award-winning director and Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare company, John Caird (best known for his work on Les Mis), attached to write and direct the stage adaptation, which has already received blessing from Ghibli God, Hayao Miyazaki himself. 

“We, Hayao and I, both liked John’s vision,” Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki told IndieWire in a statement. “He is a person we can trust. I am looking forward to seeing Chihiro grow on stage under his direction. I could tell how much he adores this story.”

“I feel so excited and privileged to be working on the first ever stage adaptation of Spirited Away,” John Caird added. “I share a belief in all the most dominant themes of Miyazaki’s work, themes that are at the core of the Spirited Away world. Care for the environment, reverence for nature, a belief in the force of the good spirits within us, and the empowerment of young women and men to change the world for the better.”

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Spirited Away
Studio Ghibli