It isn’t often you get a behind the scenes peek at shows but on Thursday 2nd February 2017 Joey, the breathtaking life-size equine puppet from War Horse cantered down to Liverpool for a special early morning appearance at the Liver Building followed by an on-stage puppetry demonstration at its upcoming venue the Liverpool Empire Theatre.
The event was a wonderful opportunity to see Joey, the eight-stone puppet, constructed from cane, leather and tyvec up close and also included a talk about the history of the show from War Horse’s assistant puppetry director, Matthew Forbes with details on how each of the three actors controlling Joey bring this spectacular piece of puppetry to life.
War Horse seen by over 7 million people worldwide since its premiere at the National Theatre in 2007, 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 World War I. Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war 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.
Kash Bennett, the producer of War Horse said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to be bringing War Horse to the Liverpool Empire Theatre. We hope that today, with Joey’s appearance in the city, we can bring the people of Merseyside a taste of the theatrical magic and artistry that Liverpool audiences can look forward to with this very special show.’
Michael Morpurgo added: ‘After a few months rest, out at pasture, Joey, the War Horse and his great team from the National Theatre, will be touring the UK again, from 2017 through to 2018 and the centenary of the end of the First World War, then 2019. The NT will be taking their show all over the country, to towns and cities, many of them places War Horse has not been seen before. I am so pleased this is happening; that so many more people will have the chance to enjoy this unique theatrical event. Steady boy, steady Joey. Trot on!’
The tour of War Horse coincides with the Centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War. Liverpool’s St Georges Hall, situated right opposite the Empire Theatre on Lime Street played a significant part in the First World War. On 31 August 1914, a month after the War broke out, the plateau outside this iconic Liverpool landmark was packed with thousands of men queuing to sign up to the military. By 10am, the first 1,000 men had been recruited, and by September 1914, more than 30,000 enlisted at St George’s Hall. Thousands again gathered at St George’s at the end of the War, clambering on the lampposts in celebration.
War Horse is produced by the National Theatre – www.warhorseonstage.com
Fancy a sneak peek? Liverpool news source the Liverpool Echo took some fantastic video which can be seen here http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/theatre-news/meet-joey-incredibly-realistic-life-12546474 (all credit to the Liverpool Echo)
Liverpool Empire Theatre
15 November – 2 December 2017
To book visit the Liverpool Empire Box Office, call 0844 871 3017* or visit atgtickets.com/Liverpool*