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Ready for War Horse

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: February 19, 2014

  • Left, the War Horse at the Gladstone Pottery Museum. Centre and right, the stage show.

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JOEY, the life-size equine puppet from War Horse, has made a special appearance at a Stoke-on-Trent's iconic pottery museum ahead of the show coming to the Regent Theatre.

Joey appeared at the Gladstone Pottery Museum in Longton and was then on stage at The Victoria Hall in front of a specially invited audience.

The National Theatre's production of War Horse makes it Stoke-on-Trent premiere at The Regent Theatre from Wednesday, September 24, to Saturday, October 11.

The recent visit by Joey included a puppetry demonstration and talk about the history of the show from War Horse's puppetry director, Finn Caldwell. Finn was in the original production of War Horse in 2007 and was involved in the origination of the show. The puppeteers operating Joey in Stoke-on-Trent for the event were David Emmings (Joey Head), Stuart Angell (Joey Heart), Sam Clark (Joey Hind).

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Local pottery firm Emma Bridgewater presented a specially commissioned War Horse plate to Gladstone during the morning.

Chris Harper, Producer of War Horse said: "War Horse is on a spectacularly successful tour of the UK and Ireland, and we are particularly excited about bringing the show to the magnificent Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent in September."

Andrew Nicklin, General Manager of The Regent Theatre and Victoria Hall, said: "We were absolutely thrilled when it was announced War Horse would be visiting our theatre in September for a three week run.

"It is a privilege to be bringing this unique and thrilling production to The Regent. It is a truly magnificent show."

War Horse is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the British in the First World War. Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the conflict before landing in No Man's Land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. A remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, War Horse features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage.

War Horse has been seen by more than four million people worldwide since its premiere at the National Theatre in 2007, and continues its hugely successful run at the New London Theatre in the West End. Internationally, the show is on a major tour of North America, a German language production entitled Gefährten is running in Berlin and a Dutch language production opens in Amsterdam this summer. There will be an NT Live screening of the West End production throughout cinemas in the UK and globally on February 27.

Based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, War Horse is adapted by Nick Stafford and presented in association with Handspring Puppet Company. Directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, it is designed by Rae Smith, lighting is by Paule Constable and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick.

The puppetry directors are Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, with video design by 59 Productions Ltd, song-making by John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt. Alex Sims directs the tour with Katie Henry as associate director.

Tickets are now on sale and are available in person from The Regent Theatre Box Office, by calling 0844 871 7649 or visiting www.atgtickets.com/stoke.

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