Children’s Touring Partnership Running Wild tour opens at Chichester Festival Theatre

Running Wild. Images Johan Persson

It’s a jungle out there.

Children’s Touring Partnership launches its UK tour of Michael Morpurgo’s stunning family production, Running Wild, at Chichester Festival Theatre on February 10.

Samuel Adamson’s adaptation opens in Chichester on Friday next week with the lead role of Lilly shared by three young actresses – Jemima Bennett, India Brown and Annika Whiston.

Michael Morpurgo’s novel, based on a true story, is brought to life in this award-winning production, which was originally produced by Regent’s Park Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre. It has already been described by critics as “inspiring, evocative, imaginative and life-affirming”.

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.

This epic production, complete with spectacular life-size puppets, tells an emotional and moving story of love, loss, loyalty and of living for the moment.

Running Wild is the story of a girl, Lilly, who, while 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 a tsunami hits the island.

Miles from civilisation Lilly must learn to survive the rainforest.

Running Wild also stars Kazeem Toisin Amore, Liz Crowther, Stephen Hoo, Corinna Powlesland, Jack Sandle and Balvinder Sopal.

The puppeteers will be Darcy Collins, Romina Hytten, Fred Davis, Elisa de Grey, James Charlton, Michael Peters and Wela Mbusi.

Running Wild is co-directed by CFT’s education director Dale Rooks and artistic director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Timothy Sheader.


February 10-17, Chichester Festival Theatre
February 22 – 25, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
March 7 – 11, Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
March 14 – 18, Wycombe Swan
March 22 – 25, Hackney Empire, London
April 4 – 8, Grand Theatre, Blackpool
April 11 – 15, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
April 18 – 22, The Lowry, Salford
April 25 – 29, Theatre Royal, Norwich
May 2 – 6, Kings Theatre, Edinburgh
May 9 – 13, Newcastle Theatre Royal
May 16 – 20, Theatre Royal Plymouth
May 23 – 27, Royal & Derngate, Northampton
May 31 -June 3, The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
June 6 – 10, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

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