PREVIEW: Running Wild @ Chichester Festival Theatre

Besi Besemar December 15, 2016

Following a hugely successful run at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London, RUNNING WILD returns home to Chichester.

Photo: Johan Persson
Photo: Johan Persson

Presented by The Children’s Touring Partnership, Michael Morpurgo’s novel, based on a true story and adapted for the stage by Samuel Adamson, is brought to life in this award-winning production, complete with spectacular life-size puppets.

Originated by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre at Cass Sculpture Foundation in 2015, where it won the UK Theatre Award for Best Show for Children and Young People, this epic production tells an emotional and moving story of love, loss and loyalty and of living for the moment.

For Lilly, an Indonesian holiday with mum is a new start and the chance to ride an elephant called Oona. But then the tsunami hits and Oona charges deep into the jungle, her young rider desperately clinging on. At first there’s wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures with the orangutans but, as thoughts turn to mum left behind, tigers prowl, hunger hits, and Lilly must now learn to survive the rainforest. Then come the hunters…

Co-directed by Regent’s Park Artistic Director Timothy Sheader and CFT’s Education Director Dale Rooks, with incredible puppetry from former War Horse puppeteers Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié, this impressive and moving production will transform the Festival Theatre into the Indonesian jungle.

Michael Morpurgo, the former children’s laureate and author of War Horse, was inspired by the real-life story of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004, when she went on an elephant ride.

While riding Ning Nong along the beach, the eight-year-old noticed the elephant was attempting to pull away from the receding sea water. “He ran away and, as the water came in, I was safely on his back. He saved my life.”

When he read Amber’s story in the newspaper, Michael Morpurgo said it was the one bit of hope amid the destruction of the Boxing Day tsunami which hit South East Asia. The production will work to support the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

Running Wild has set and costume design by Paul Wills, puppetry design and direction by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié for Gyre & Gimble, original songs and composition by Rod Paton, additional music by Nick Powell and Louise Anna Duggan, sound score by Nick Powell, lighting design by James Whiteside, sound design by Nick Sagar and movement by Georgina Lamb. Casting director for the UK Tour is Polly Jerrold, with original casting for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre by Jessica Ronane CDG.

For more information, click here: 


Event: Running Wild for ages 8+

Where: Festival Theatre, Oaklands Park, Chichester PO19 6AP

When: Friday February 10 and Saturday February 18

Time: Evenings at 7pm, matinees at 2pm (Saturday February 18 at 2pm only)

Cost: Tickets: £10, £17, £25. Under 16s £2 off top two prices, Tuesday – Thursday performances. PROLOGUE: £8.50 tickets for 16 – 25s

To buy tickets online, click here:

Box Office 01243 781312