Studio Ghibli‘s Spirited Away is being turned into a stage play that will debut in 2022.
Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning film will be adapted by Toho Co. Ltd and Les Misérables theatre director John Caird, according to Indie Wire.
Set to premiere in Tokyo in February next year, it will be followed by a tour through Japan visiting the cities Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo, and Nagoya.
The play has so far cast two actors as heroine Chihiro, Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi. Spirited Away marks Hashimoto’s stage debut, while Kamishiraishi recently gained attention for her voice role in the anime film Your Name.
Director Caird said in a statement: “I feel so excited and privileged to be working on the first ever stage adaptation of Spirited Away. I have for many years now regarded Hayao Miyazaki as one of the preeminent geniuses of world cinema and the greatest ever proponent of the anime form.”
He continued: “I share a belief in all the most dominant themes of Miyazaki’s work, themes that are at the core of the Spirited Away 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.”
Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki added in a statement: “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. I could tell how much he adores this story from his delighted face when I gave him a No-Face (Kaonashi) piggy-bank.”
Often considered one of Miyazaki’s best films, Spirited Away centres on Chihiro, a 10-year-old girl moving with her parents to their new home. The family loses itself 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.
Up until last year, it was the highest grossing film in Japan, having taken ¥31.68billion. It was knocked off the top spot by Haruo Sotozaki’s Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, which has so far grossed ¥37.78billion.
The much-loved Japanese film studio confirmed last year that its theme park, which was first announced back in 2017, is now slated to open in autumn 2022.
Set to be located at the Aichi Expo Memorial Park in Nagakute City, Aichi Prefecture in Japan, the Ghibli theme park is still currently under construction – but two new images made by the team behind the park have emerged this month.