News Column

Special event to start War Horse ; Michael Morpurgo on his dramatic concert

October 2, 2013

YellowBrix

CELEBRATED author Michael Morpurgo will be taking part in a special event to mark the first major tour of War Horse, which starts its run in Plymouth until October 12.

War Horse: Only Remembered sees Michael tell the powerful and moving story of young Albert and his beloved horse Joey at the new- look Plymouth Lyric at the Theatre Royal on Sunday, October 13 at 7pm.

The animal witnesses the pity of war on both sides of the trenches as he moves from a peaceful farm in Devon to the hell of the Western Front during the First World War.

The Devon-based writer is joined by acclaimed folk musicians John Tams and Barry Coope, who accompany him with the rousing yet haunting songs composed by Tams for the National Theatre's awardwinning production.

Michael told me: This will actually be my 70th birthday concert; that might get three people along. It's a nice way of celebrating.

It's also a celebration of the reopening of the Theatre Royal in Plymouth - it will be the first concert there - and the beginning of the nationwide tour of War Horse, which, rather appropriately, starts in Plymouth.

Michael, will read an abridged version of his 1982 book, which unlike the theatre production and Steven Spielberg's 2011 film version is told from the viewpoint of Joey, the horse.

He added: The concert is a joy - it's a theatrical production in its own right, in many ways. The story is interspersed with the songs, rather like Peter And The Wolf.

How does he view War Horse now it's become such a phenomenon. It must be akin to letting your child loose in the world? That's exactly it - the child has grown up, but the heartbeat of a child is still there.

The National Theatre production has played to four million people, from Australia to Canada and America, and opens in Germany in October. It's my story, but it's grown up.

This is what an author really dreams of - it's not yours anymore; other people love it as much as you did originally.

Michael added: Many, many great books don't get this attention - it was such good fortune that the National Theatre came up with such an iconic production; you can't arrange those sort of things.

The other good fortune is that I'm alive - think of authors like Dickens and Austen who never had the chance of seeing their books turned into films.

For tickets to War Horse: Only Remembered see www.theatreroyal.com

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