VIDEO: British "Princess Mononoke" Stage Play to be Performed in Tokyo

See the production's trailer

The Princess MO Executive Committee in association with Whole Hog Theatre have announced that they are presenting a stage production of Princess Mononoke at AiiA Theater Tokyo, from April 29 to May 6, 2013. The production was created by  British theatre company Whole Hog Theatre with Hayao Miyazaki's "go-ahead" and now features an adapted version of Joe Hisaishi's score from the classic Studio Ghibli anime movie.


The ecological fable is re-told for the stage using giant puppets, physical storytelling and original live music.





On the move to use Joe Hisaishi's score

As many of you know, we had been preparing a new score for Princess Mononoke inspired by the music from the film and specially written for violin, double bass, piano and percussion. However, having been offered the chance by both Joe Hisaishi and Studio Ghibli to use the original film’s music, our musical team will now begin working on bringing Princess Mononoke’s soaring melodies to life in our stage adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki’s epic fable.


We chose not to recreate the original music when we first conceived the production for logistical reasons. Due to the intimate dimensions of our venue, fitting a full orchestra in to accompany our performers would have been impossible, and we were concerned that taking the music out of its original orchestral context would diminish its power. However, having investigated the musical adaptation process further, sought additional advice and new support, and finally having been offered the blessing of Hisaishi-san himself, we feel we would be doing the film and its fans a disservice not to take him and the Studio up on their generous offer of using the film's music as the basis for our musical adaptation. We are honoured to have been given the opportunity.


The number of musicians will remain roughly the same at around 6 performers, but some instruments will be changed to better suit the original composition.


The decision not to use Freya Bryson’s beautifully written score was a difficult one, but Freya and the whole team were unanimous in backing this change. We all believe this is the best decision for the show and are excited by this new opportunity.


We have taken on a new musical director in Kerrin Tatman, who will work alongside Freya Bryson in lovingly adapting the music from the film to suit a smaller acoustic musical collective.


For the Tokyo run

Princess Mononoke Japan Venue
Date: 4/29/2013 (Monday) – 5/6/2013 (Monday) 
Place: AiiA Theater Tokyo, Shibuya 
Organized by: Princess Mononoke Executive Committee (Dwango, Nippon TV Network, Nelke Planning, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo FM, Lawson, Entertainment Plus, Dentsu, AiiA, BS Nippon TV, in association with Whole Hog Theatre) 
Sponsored by: Walt Disney Studios 
Japan Partner: Studio Ghibli 
Supported by: British Council 
Director: Alexandra Rutter 
Based on Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki 
Original music composer: Joe Hisaishi 
Musical Arranger: Kerrin Tatman 
Tickets: 7,500 yen (tax included, reserved seating) 
Advance reservation from 10 am, 3/6/2013 (Wednesday) 
On sale from 10 am, 4/6/2013 (Saturday) 
At Lawson Ticket (PC, Mobile) 
E+ (PC, Mobile) 
Official website:

The production's second UK run of Princess Mononoke will take place between Tuesday 18th – Saturday 29th June 2013, but tickets sold out within just 4 and a half hours; setting a new box office record at the theatre.


Scott Green is editor and reporter for anime and manga at geek entertainment site Ain't It Cool News. Follow him on Twitter at @aicnanime.

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