"Creating something extraordinary": leading innovator in puppetry, animatronics, and digital animation begins making the puppets for the global stage premiere of Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro.

The puppets, designed by international award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist are currently being built at the Los Angeles location of the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the legendary workshop of The Jim Henson Company.

The Shop has produced some of the world’s best loved characters from The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Sesame Street.

Man in a workshop surrounded by small objects,  wearing leather vest with front pocket filled with screwdrivers holding a metal pole with a robotic lamp-like top.
Animatronics Supervisor John Criswell at Jim Henson's Creature Shop
Photo by Jay P Morgan © RSC Browse and license our images
Basil Twist, Puppeteer

"The Jim Henson Company is synonymous with imagination and childhood. I have been building puppets since I was a young boy, and to me there is still nothing more magical than when a seemingly inanimate object comes to life before your eyes. When I accepted this challenge and needed a team who could build my designs and bring Studio Ghibli’s treasured characters to life, I knew it had to be Henson. I truly believe we are creating something extraordinary.”

Mervyn Millar, director of Significant Object (War Horse) who designed the puppetry for the RSC’s recent acclaimed production of The Magician’s Elephant, will create additional puppets in their UK based workshop.

Presented by Executive Producer Joe Hisaishi and the RSC, in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV, My Neighbour Totoro will play a 15-week season at the Barbican from 8 October 2022 to 21 January 2023.

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