Michael Morpurgo's writing has inspired a number of adaptations over time, which have made his work come alive across screen, stage and airwaves.
Most famous is his poignant masterpiece War Horse, which has been adapted for all three. The theatre adaptation War Horse premiered in 2007 at the National Theatre and transferred to the West End in 2009. The play, which critics hailed as being the ‘best-loved’ and ‘most moving and spectacular’ play in London, went on to tour the world. In 2011, its place in the hearts of fans worldwide was sealed when it became an award-winning major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg. In 2010, it was also adapted for broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Other examples include TV adaptation My Friend Walter (2001), and films Friend or Foe (1981), Why the Whales Came (1989) and the elegiac Private Peaceful, released in 2012 and recently premiered on BBC1. Meanwhile, whilst Michael describes classical music as being one of his main inspirations whilst writing his work, his own work has also inspired musical adaptation. His Gentle Giant was presented as an opera by composer Stephen McNeff and librettist Mike Kenny at the Royal Opera House in 2006 and composer Stephen Barlow created a musical adaptation of Rainbow Bear, which was subsequently presented as a ballet by the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain in August 2010.