Everything you need to know about War Horse
First staged at the National Theatre in 2007, War Horse has become a theatrical phenomenon. Nick Stafford’s adaptation of the children’s book by Michael Morpurgo has been watched by over four million people, with the story of Albert and his horse Joey touring the world. Read all about War Horse and find out just why it has been so successful.
All you need to know about War Horse
Who is it written by?
War Horse is a 1982 book written by the award-winning children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo. His first novel titled It Never Rained: Five Stories was published in 1974, with Morpurgo inspired to work after reading Ernest Hemingway and Ted Hughes when he was younger.
From 2003 to 2005, Morpurgo was the official Children’s Laureate in the United Kingdom, awarded to him after demonstrating outstanding achievement in his field. Morpurgo joined an esteemed list of writers including Quentin Blake, Anne Fine and Jacqueline Wilson. He was awarded a knighthood in 2018 for services to literature and charity.
Throughout his career, Morpurgo has received 13 awards, with his 2004 book Private Peaceful winning 4 awards from 2004 to 2008.
Writing 114 books during his career, notable books by Morpurgo include Kensuke’s Kingdom, Waiting for Anya and Beowulf.
What’s the synopsis?
At the outbreak of World War One, Albert’s horse Joey is auctioned, sold off to the British cavalry and quickly shipped to France. Wishing to be reunited with his horse, Albert travels to the front line to be together with Joey once again, just like they were on his parents’ farm in Devon. Finding himself in no man’s land, Albert must cross physical and emotional barriers in order to retrieve his horse and return to England with his horse in tow.
Who has starred in War Horse?
Kit Harington originated the role of Albert in War Horse at the National Theatre, reprising his role at the New London Theatre (now named the Gillian Lynne Theatre). This marked Harington’s professional theatre debut, and shortly after Harington was cast as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.
The current touring cast of War Horse is made up of 34 people, with Scott Miller playing Albert and William Ilkley as Arthur.
Facts about War Horse
- The world premiere of War Horse took place in the Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre on 9th October 2007.
- The magnificent puppets used in War Horse are created by the Handspring Puppet Company, based in South Africa. It takes the company eight months to build an entire set of puppets ready for a production of the show.
- There are 23 puppets used in War Horse.
- If the story were true, Joey would have been one of 10 million horses that were shipped to the front line during World War One.