Online film publication IndieWire reports that, “Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar winner Spirited Away is getting the stage play treatment, courtesy of Toho Co., Ltd and award-winning theater director John Caird (Les Misérables, Nicholas Nickleby, Daddy Long Legs). Caird is also known for being the Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The world premiere is at this moment set for February-March 2022 in Tokyo, followed by an extensive tour of Japan that is supposed to run until the summer of the same year.
For those less familiar with Spirited Away, considered one of the best animated films of modern times, the story centers 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.
In his statement, Caird said that he feels “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.”
For their part, 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.”