The Garden of Words – the official stage production opens in London in July 2020

Whole Hog Theatre in association with Park Theatre present:
The Garden of Words
Park Theatre London to host World Premiere of the official stage production based on the anime from Makoto Shinkai / CoMix Wave Films
Adapted by Whole Hog Theatre | Directed by Alexandra Rutter | created in London and Tokyo in collaboration with Nelke Planning, Tokyo
Official event of the Japan Season of Culture in the UK 2019-2020

Park Theatre, 16 July – 15 August 2020
“They achieve the seemingly impossible” Anime UK News (on Princess Mononoke)

Specialists in Anglo-Japanese stage adaptations, Whole Hog Theatre return after their hugely successful Princess Mononoke to present The Garden of Words. Based on the stereotype-defying film by world-renowned director Makoto Shinkai (Your Name), The Garden of Words is a modern Tokyo tale inspired by ancient Man’yōshū poetry. This subtle drama explores invisible disability, loss of human connection in a digital world and challenges us to consider the moral line between platonic and romantic longing. Makoto Shinkai’s subsequent film, Your Name (2016), became one of the highest-grossing anime of all time in 2016.

When a student and an older woman meet by chance whilst seeking solace in a Japanese garden, their mutual feelings of alienation draw them together. But a truth is about to be uncovered. The friendship that could save them might also ruin them…

In a unique Anglo-Japanese collaboration, this world theatrical premiere will be created and performed in London and Tokyo by the UK’s Whole Hog Theatre (Princess Mononoke stage adaptation), and anime stage production specialists, Nelke Planning (Sailor Moon and Naruto stage productions). A female-led project, the work aims to bring together Japanese and British creatives, encourage diverse new audiences, and challenge stereotypes about anime and Japan. This interdisciplinary adaptation delves into Shinkai’s visually emotive story through puppetry, movement and projection art. Performed in English with occasional Japanese. Makoto Shinkai (新海 誠) is a Japanese animator, filmmaker, and manga artist best known for directing Your Name and listed by Variety as one of 10 animators to watch in 2016. An Asteroid (55222 Makotoshinkai) is named in his honour.

Alexandra Rutter from Whole Hog Theatre said, “We believe this project has tremendous potential to challenge stereotypes about Japan and anime and encourage diverse, non-traditional audiences to the theatre. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Nelke Planning Tokyo and a team of a Japanese, British and British East Asian artists to bring this highly respected filmmaker’s work to the stage for the first time and in so doing, share such a important, moving and challenging story about loneliness in the digital age. With the ongoing UK Japan season of culture, Makoto Shinkai’s meteoric rise and his latest film now out in the UK, and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, there has never been a more exciting time for Anglo-Japanese collaboration.”
Whole Hog Theatre specialises in creating Anglo-Japanese adaptations with emerging artists. Their work in the UK and Japan aims to challenge stereotypes, champion diversity and encourage new audiences to the theatre. Their first anime theatre production was the world’s first theatrical staging of Hayao Miyazaki’s renowned animated film Princess Mononoke, produced with the kind permission of Studio Ghibli which sold out two runs at London’s New Diorama in 2013 in 2 days, 9 months in advance of the production. Since 2015, they have had a base in Tokyo where they forge new collaborations and connect British and Japanese artists.

Park Theatre Park Theatre presents exceptional theatre in the heart of Finsbury Park. In six years, it has enjoyed eight West End transfers (including Daytona starring Maureen Lipman, The Boys in the Band starring Mark Gatiss, Pressure starring David Haig and The Life I Lead starring Miles Jupp), two National Theatre transfers, twenty-five national tours, four Olivier Award nominations, has won Offie Awards for Best New Play and Best Foodie Experience and won a Theatre of the Year award from The Stage.

Running Time: TBC | Suitable for ages 12 and above
Company information
Based on the Anime from Makoto Shinkai/ CoMix Wave Films
Adapted by Whole Hog Theatre Directed by Alexandra Rutter In collaboration with Nelke Planning, Tokyo

Listings information
16 July – 15 August 2020
Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP
Mon – Sat Evening 19.30 (Thu & Sat Matinees 15.00)
Special performances:
Preview: 16 July
Parents & Babies Thu 6 Aug 13.00 £15 (Babes in arms under 1 year go free)
Sponsored by and in collaboration with Nelke Planning
With the kind permission of Makoto Shinkai and CoMix Wave Films
Supported by Daiwa Foundation Grant
Image credit Makoto Shinkai/CoMix Wave Films


Sarah's been writing about her love of manga and anime since Whenever - and first started watching via Le Club Dorothée in France...

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