My Neighbour Totoro actors this week performed an extract from the show for Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress of Japan.

Our actors, including Mei Mac (Mei) and Ami Okumura Jones (Satsuki) performed the Soot Sprite Song, as part of a visit to the Young V&A in Bethnal Green, London during a UK state visit.

The fully costumed performance at the museum was given to an audience of local children from the Bethnal Green area and the Emperor and Empress.

Children and adults watching actors puppeting the soot sprites
The performance of an extract from My Neighbour Totoro at the Young V&A
Photo by Manuel Harlan © RSC with Nippon TV Browse and license our images

After the performances the actors met The Emperor and Empress.

Mei said: “It was a surreal and amazing experience. The children were right there, little faces looking up at you. They were in awe, and when the Soot Sprites went above their heads they tried to grab them and were full of delight. It was really interactive for all of us as you don’t normally get that close to the audience.”

Ami added: “The Emperor and Empress were very warm and curious to know more about us and the production. It was a privilege and an honour to perform in front of Their Majesties, and they were interested to hear about the international collaboration between the UK and Japanese artists who created the show.”

Two actors in their bring yellow and pink costumes and The Emperor and Empress of Japan
Actors Ami Okumura Jones (Satsuki, in yellow) and Mei Mac (Mei, in pink) meet The Emperor and Empress of Japan.
Photo by Manuel Harlan © RSC with Nippon TV Browse and license our images

Following two sell-out runs at the Barbican (2022/3 and 2023/4) the RSC and Joe Hisaishi’s multi Olivier award-winning production of Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV will play at the Gillian Lynne Theatre from 8 March 2025.

A set-design model for the award-winning theatre production is currently on display in Young V&A’s Japan: Myths to Manga exhibition (until 8 September 2024).

More about My Neighbour Totoro (separate website)

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