13 May – 12 June 2016
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

4 star
 The Times, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Time Out

“Genuine wonder…remarkable by its inventive, evocative staging.”
The Times

“The highlight of this show is the magnificent puppets…things of never-ending beauty.”
Evening Standard

“The animals are so eye-catchingly brought to life. All remarkably lifelike and immensely articulate.”
Financial Times

“This out-does both War Horse and The Lion King in the puppetry stakes. Animal Magic.”
The Guardian

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

A Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre co-production






Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo
Adapted by Samuel Adamson

“I’m not alone. You saved my life Oona, so I’m not going to lose it now.”

For Will, going to Indonesia isn’t just another holiday with mum. It’s a new start, and the chance to ride an elephant called Oona. But then the tsunami hit. Charging deep into the jungle, Oona escapes the beach with her young rider desperately clinging on. Miles from civilisation, at first there’s wonder, discovery and adventures amongst the orangutans. But, as thoughts turn to mum left behind on the beach, tigers prowl, hunters attack, and Will must now learn to survive the rainforest.

Reimagined for Regent’s Park Open Air theatre, Gyre & Gimble developed the existing puppetry from the original Chichester production and created additional animals and elements to bring this epic jungle adventure to life. With a cast of 40 performers and puppeteers this was the largest-scale production ever to be presented at the Open Air Theatre. A story of love, loss, loyalty and of living for the moment.

Creative Team

Directors Timothy Sheader & Dale Rooks
Designer Paul Wills
Puppetry Design & Direction Finn Caldwell & Toby Olié
Movement Director Georgina Lamb
Composer & Music Director Rod Paton
Sound Score Nick Powell
Lighting Designer Nick Lidster
Associate Puppet Designers Nick Barnes & Dulcie Best
Puppet Fabricators Daisy Beattie, Cheryl Brown, Hugh Purves, Zosia Stella-Sawicka
& Charlie Tymms
Assistant Fabricators Phillipa Bean, Amber Donovan & William Selby


Oona an elephant Laura Cubitt, Ben Thompson, Michael Taibi & John Leader
Mani an orangutan Stuart Angell & Sarah Mardel
Charlie an orangutan Romina Hytten
Tonk an orangutan Fred Davis
Will/Lilly Joshua Fernandes/Tyler Osborne/Ava Potter
Mum/Doctor Geraldine Hattie Ladbury
Dad/Hunter Ira Mandela Siobhan
Granny Joyce Henderson
Grandad/Kaya Eric Mallett
Mahout/Red Bandana Okorie Chukwu
Mr Anthony Stephen Ventura

Back to Productions