Latest Press Releases




Today (Friday 29 September), Executive Producer Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV, announce the full company for the multi-award-winning stage adaptation of Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro which will return to the Barbican theatre for a strictly limited run from Tuesday 21 November 2023 to Saturday 23 March 2024.

Mei Mac will reprise her Olivier and What’s on Stage Award-nominated performance as Mei Kusakabe with Ami Okumura Jones returning as older sister Satsuki, Dai Tabuchi in his role as Tatsuo and Jacqueline Tate as Granny.

Also returning as Kazego Puppetry ensemble are; Boaz Chad, Jasmine Chiu, Andrew Futaishi (Hiroshi), Matthew Leonhart, Arina Ii (Miss Hara), Yojiro Ichikawa, Si Rawlinson, Mark Takeshi Ota and Shaofan Wilson.

Joining them are; Jessie Baek, Jasmine Bayes, Ka Long Kelvin Chan (Kanta), Elizabeth Chu, Anna Kato, Heather Lai, Amanda Maud (Nurse Emiko), Yuki Nitta, Bright Ong, Emily Piggford (Yasuko), Daniel Phung, Gun Suen and Naomi Yang (Tsukiko).

The global stage premiere of Hayao Miyazaki’s celebrated 1988 animated feature film, adapted by Tom Morton-Smith (Oppenheimer), was first announced in April 2022 and broke the Barbican’s Box Office record for most tickets sold in a single day. The production opened at the Barbican in October last year, where it received both critical and audience acclaim, winning six Olivier Awards, five What’s on Stage Awards and the Critic’s Circle Awards for Best Design.

Directed by Improbable’s Phelim McDermott with production design by Tom Pye, costume design by Kimie Nakano, lighting design by Jessica Hung Han Yun, and movement by You-Ri Yamanaka. Puppetry design and direction is by Basil Twist, created with puppetry associate Mervyn Millar’s Significant Object and the Jim Henson Creature Shop.

The production features music from Joe Hisaishi’s iconic score in a new orchestration by Will Stuart, performed by live musicians including singer, Ai Ninomiya, with sound design by Tony Gayle. Video design is by Finn Ross and Andrea Scott. Casting Director is Hannah Miller CDG. Associate Director is Ailin Conant.

Artwork for the stage adaptation of My Neighbour Totoro includes a hand drawn title by Toshio Suzuki, Producer for Studio Ghibli, who was involved in the planning and production of the original animated film.

This enchanting coming-of-age story explores the magical fantasy world of childhood and the transformative power of imagination, as it follows one extraordinary summer in the lives of sisters Satsuki and Mei.

In order to be closer to their mother while she recovers from an illness in a rural convalescent hospital, their father moves the family to the countryside. As the girls explore their beautiful new surroundings, Mei encounters magical creatures and the ancient protector of the forest she calls Totoro.

Although Satsuki doesn’t believe her little sister at first, they are soon both swept up in exciting adventures with their new neighbours – transported to a long-forgotten realm of spirits, sprites, and natural wonder.


For further information contact: Bethany Arnold, Senior Publicist (









Barbican, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
Barbican Box Office: 020 7638 8891 or visit

Twitter / TikTok: @totoro_show

Instagram / Facebook: @totoroshow / TotoroShow



Tickets from £29.50 to £92.50 with a limited number of Premium Seats available from £99.50

Day seats available at £25 from 10am each day



Saturday 21 November 2023 – Saturday 23 March 2024

Monday-Saturday, 7pm

Thursday & Saturday matinees, 2pm

Additional matinee performances: Sunday 31 December, 1pm and Tuesday 2 January, 2pm.



Audio Described performances:

Saturday 16 December, 2pm (Touch Tour 12.00 – 12.30pm)

Wednesday 28 February, 7pm (Touch Tour 5.00 – 5.30pm)

Captioned performances:

Saturday 16 December, 2pm

Saturday 6 January, 2pm

Thursday 25 January, 2pm

Wednesday 28 February, 7pm

Performance with Integrated BSL Interpreter

Friday 9 February, 7pm

Relaxed Performance with Integrated BSL Interpreter (Audio Described & Captioned)

Thursday 1 February, 2pm

Relaxed Performance (Audio Described & Captioned)

Saturday 17 February, 2pm



The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England

The work of the RSC is supported by the Culture Recovery Fund

The RSC is generously supported by RSC America

Miranda Curtis CMG – Lead Production Supporter of the Original and 2023 Production of My Neighbour Totoro

New work at the RSC is generously supported by The Drue and H.J. Heinz II Charitable Trust

The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation

Assisted Performances at the RSC are kindly supported by The Saintbury Trust and The D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust


Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by animated film directors Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki and has produced 24 feature-length films.

The Studio’s SPIRITED AWAY (2001), HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (2004) and PRINCESS MONONOKE (1997) are among Japan’s top 10 grossing films.  Studio Ghibli films have garnered numerous awards and critical acclaim from film critics and animation specialists around the world.  SPIRITED AWAY was awarded the Golden Bear as the Best Feature Film at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival and won the 2002 Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film.  In October 2001, Studio Ghibli, in conjunction with The Tokuma Memorial Cultural Foundation for Animation, founded the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, designed by Hayao Miyazaki. 

THE WIND RISES (2013), THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA (2013), WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE (2014) and THE RED TURTLE (2016) have earned the studio four consecutive nominations for the Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film.  The studio’s latest film, EARWIG AND THE WITCH, was an official selection for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival.



Improbable are pioneering improvisers, inventive creators, imaginative collaborators, authentic conversation facilitators.

Improbable is led by Artistic Directors Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson and occupies a vital space in the landscape of UK theatre. At the heart of their artistic practice is improvisation. Whether in performance, rehearsal or development Improbable use the practice and philosophy of improvisation in the process of creation.

Improbable have staged epic spectacles like Sticky, which was seen by over 250,000 people, theatrical classics like The Tempest at Northern Stage and the Oxford Playhouse, intimate puppetry like Animo in studios across the country, adaptations like Theatre of Blood at the National Theatre, operatic triumphs like Satyagraha and Olivier and Grammy Award winning Akhnaten at the English National Opera, London and the Metropolitan Opera, New York, female led impro project Permission Improbable which nurtures an improvisation culture grown by women and fully improvised productions like Lifegame which toured internationally and at the National Theatre. Our shows are live events encouraging conversation between us and our audience.


Nippon TV

Nippon Television Holdings, Inc. is a media and content company whose core operation is broadcasting. At the nucleus of its businesses is subsidiary Nippon Television Network Corporation, Japan’s first commercial television broadcaster that hit the airwaves in 1953. Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, the country’s leading linear platform enjoys widespread support from viewers, propelling it to win the annual Triple Crown Title for the 11th consecutive year in 2021 by ranking No 1 in individual viewer ratings across all three timeslot categories.


Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates exceptional theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, London and around the world, performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as commissioning a wide range of original work from contemporary writers. Our purpose is to ensure that Shakespeare – and theatre as a whole – is for everyone, and we do that by unlocking the power of his plays and live performance, and with our learning and education work throughout the UK and across the world. 

Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.



You might also like