Toho Co., Ltd. has announced the world premiere of a new theatrical production based on Studio Ghibli’s Oscar-winning film “Spirited Away” (original title: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi). This production will be the first ever stage adaptation of the 2001 animated masterpiece by Hayao Miyazaki. The film became a massive box office hit in Japan and earned worldwide acclaim including Academy Award for Best Animated Feature of 2002.
The Tony and Olivier Award-winning director and Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company John Caird (Les Misérables, Nicholas Nickleby, Daddy Long Legs) will write and direct the stage adaptation. Caird has been an admirer of the film for years.
Chihiro, the heroine of “Spirited Away,” is a 10-year-old girl moving with her parents to their new home. They lose themselves in a mysterious world of fantastic spirits, ruled over by the sorceress Yubaba, who turns Chihiro’s parents into pigs. After a series of bizarre and dangerous challenges, including the loss of her identity, Chihiro must use all her wits to survive in this strange place and return to the human world. The story of her struggle and resilience is a timeless gift to all of us, but especially to those striving to live through these present difficult times.
In a press release, Caird shared a bit more of his vision for the production:
“I feel so excited and privileged to be working on the first ever stage adaptation of Sen to Chihiro. I have for many years now regarded Miyazaki Hayao as one of the pre-eminent geniuses of world cinema and the greatest ever proponent of the anime form.
I share a belief in all the most dominant themes of Miyazaki’s work, themes that are at the core of the Sen to Chihiro 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.
I’m looking forward with great pleasure to deepening my partnership with my dear friends at Toho through a new relationship with Studio Ghibli and Suzuki Toshi0, their most generous and inventive lead producer.
The double casting in the part of Chihiro will give me the chance to work again with the brilliant and charming Kamishiraishi Mone, with whom I had such an exciting collaboration on Knights’ Tale, and now affords me the same opportunity with the greatly talented, vivacious and moving young actress Hashimoto Kanna.
I must have spent a thousand hours working on Sen to Chihiro and look forward to spending many thousands more.”
“We, Hayao and I, both liked John’s vision. He is a person we can trust. I am looking forward to seeing Chihiro grow on stage under his direction,” said Studio Ghibli’s Toshio Suzuki, “Spirited Away” film producer. “I could tell how much he adores this story from his delighted face when I gave him a No-Face (Kaonashi) piggy-bank.”
Chihiro will be double-cast by Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi. Kanna, who has starred and appeared in many films, will be making her long-awaited stage debut. Mone, known internationally for voicing in the film ‘Your Name’, has been delighting Japanese audiences with her versatile acting and singing talents.
“Spirited Away” will be presented at Toho’s Imperial Theatre located at 3-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo from February-March, 2022. The production will then tour to Osaka (April), Fukuoka (May), Sapporo (June), Nagoya (June and July).
You can check out more information about the production on their official website here.