On Tour: Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild

On Elephant Appreciation Day, Children’s Touring Partnership announced the first UK Tour of Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo in an adaptation by Samuel Adamson, beginning at Chichester Festival Theatre on 10 February 2017. Michael Morpurgo’s novel, based on a true story, is brought to life in this award-winning production, which has been described by critics as ‘inspiring’, ‘evocative’, ‘imaginative’ and ‘life-affirming’.

Originally produced by Regent’s Park Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre, this epic production, complete with spectacular life-size puppets, tells an emotional and moving story of love, loss and loyalty and of living for the moment.

“The puppetry is exquisite, with full-sized animals manipulated so they seem to breathe with documentary life.” – The Telegraph

Ava Potter as Lilly riding Oona the elephant in Michael Morpurgo's Running Wild Live. Photo by Johan Persson.

Running Wild is the story is of a girl named Lilly, who, whilst on holiday with her mother in Indonesia, takes an elephant ride. During the ride, Oona, the elephant, suddenly becomes anxious and runs from the beach deep into the jungle. With Lilly on her back, they escape moments before the tsunami hits the island.

Puppeteer Romina Hytten with mani Orangutan in Michael Morpurgo's Running Wild Live. Photo by Mike Eddowes

Miles from civilisation, at first there’s wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures with the orangutans, but, as thoughts turn to her mother left behind on the beach, and wild tigers prowl, and hunger hits, Lilly must now learn to survive the rainforest. And then the hunters come…Ava Potter as Lilly in Michael Morpurgo's Running Wild Live. Photo by Alistair Muir.

Running Wild Live is perfect for ages 6+. Running time 110m including interval.

Inspiration for Running Wild

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.


Originated by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre, when it won a prestigious UK Theatre Award, before receiving its London premiere at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Running Wild is co-directed by CFT’s Education Director Dale Rooks and Artistic Director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre Timothy Sheader, with set and costume design by Paul Wills, puppetry design and direction by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié for Gyre & Gimble, both previous Associate Puppetry Directors on War Horse, original songs and composition by Rod Paton, additional music by Nick Powell and Louise Anna Duggan, sound score by Nick Powell, and lighting design by Paul Anderson. Casting director for the UK Tour is Polly Jerrold, with original casting for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre by Jessica Ronane CDG.

The UK Tour of Running Wild has received Arts Council funding.

For more information, visit www.runningwildlive.co.uk.
Facebook: RunningWildLive
Twitter: @runningwildlive

Running Wild UK Tour Dates:

Chichester Festival Theatre
10-17 February 2017
01234 781312

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
22 – 25 February 2017
024 7655 3055

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
7 – 11 March 2017
0114 249 6000

Wycombe Swan
14 – 18 March 2017
01494 512 000

Hackney Empire, London
22 – 25 March 2017
020 8985 2424

Grand Theatre, Blackpool
4 – 8 April
01253 290190

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
11 – 15 April
0113 213 7700

The Lowry, Salford
18 – 22 April 2017
0843 208 6000

Theatre Royal, Norwich
25 – 29 April 2017
01603 630000

Kings Theatre, Edinburgh
2 – 6 May 2017
0131 529 6000

Newcastle Theatre Royal
9 – 13 May 2017
0844 811 2121

Theatre Royal Plymouth
16 – 20 May 2017  On sale soon
01752 267 222

Royal & Derngate, Northampton
23 – 27 May 2017
01604 624811

The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
31 May – 3 June 2017
01227 787787

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
6 – 10 June 2017
01902 429 212

Other Articles


I Believe in Unicorns 2105 at Vaudeville Theatre Photo Credit: Richard Davenport. Award-winning storyteller Danyah Miller brings best-selling children’s author Michael Morpurgo’s treasured story to life. This intimate show is set in a library full of books that hold more than stories within their pages. It is a tale of… Read More

The Mozart Question at The Barn Theatre, Cirencester

Three years in the planning, the Exclusive World Premiere of Sir Michael Morpurgo’s ‘The Mozart Question’ opens at the Barn on the 21st March until the 30th April. Regarded by Michael as his most important work, ‘The Mozart Question’ follows Paolo Levi, a violin impresario, as he recounts his parent’s… Read More

Private Peaceful UK theatre tour

Now touring until 9 July 2022 The Peaceful brothers, Tommo and Charlie, have a tough rural childhood facing the loss of their father, financial hardship and a cruel landlord. Their fierce loyalty to each other pulls them through, until one day they both fall for the same girl. And then… Read More