It’s the world’s first theatrical adaptation of Studio Ghibli’s 「もののけ姫」(Mononoke-hime/Princess Mononoke, 1997) and it’s currently in the making – with the support of Studio Ghibli.
The Whole Hog Theatre, a theatre company based in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, is adapting the film for the stage, with performance dates scheduled at the New Diorama Theatre in London on April 2-6, 2013. It’s far off but you might as well mark it on your calendars now and consider purchasing tickets already as there is a good chance that they will sell like hot cakes – Studio Ghibli, animenewsnetwork co.uk and others are all spreading the news.
Well, I struggle a little to plan that far ahead, but I can’t deny that I’m not sorely tempted – for several reasons – to just shell out the money and lose it in the off-chance that I can’t make the date.
There is the fact that the Whole Hog Theatre are being pioneers here. It would be intriguing to see how Mononoke Hime - definitely one of my favourite Studio Ghibli animations (10/10!) - works on the stage. The Whole Hog Theatre may be a young company (I had not heard of them before), but I also rather like that they “specialise in adaptation”. According to their website, they have been working on “making this project possible for over a year” and have another eight months to go, which sounds like a good chunk of time to produce something wonderful. The first images (see above and below) look fantastic and the fact that Studio Ghibli has given its blessing has to count for something. Well, that blessing was essential of course – copyrights! – but I’m fairly sure that a) with licensing fees not being cheap the theatre group will pull out all stops and b) that Studio Ghibli wouldn’t just permit any random adaptation. Ticket prices are reasonable too at £13.50 (regular and £11.50 (concession), both with booking fee included.