Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away Is Heading to the Other Kind of Theaters

Illustration for article titled Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away Is Heading to the Other Kind of Theaters
Image: Studio Ghibli

The Academy Award-winning movie Spirited Away is being spirited to the stage. A theatrical production of the film is coming next year, written and directed by John Caird, the Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.


That’s quite the pedigree, although that’s what Spirited Away—thought by many to be director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s masterpiece—deserves, which is presumably why both Miyazaki and Ghibli are down with this adaptation. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Caird says he’s already spent “over 1,000 hours” working on it.

It’s hard for me to imagine people not knowing about Spirited Away, but statistically, it must be true for some of you, so: the movie is about a 10-year-old named Chihiro who ends up in a strange, fantastical world full of spirits where her parents transform into pigs and she has to work at a bathhouse. Also, there’s a dragon. Look, describing it just can’t do it justice; just go watch it (it’s currently streaming on HBO Max) and you can’t possibly be disappointed.

Here’s the thing. The play is coming to Tokyo in February 2022, then touring Japan, but there’s no word on any sort of international release. However, with Caird involved, it seems like bringing it to English-speaking countries would be extremely doable. Hopefully, after the Spirited Away stage production is an inevitably huge success, it’ll be spirited in our direction.

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Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.


Ereshkigal, Goddess of Death

Count me intrigued! As both a playwright and someone who loves “Spirited Away”, I’m really interested to see how this story would translate to stage (and would be really interested in seeing it if/when it makes it States-side.

If I personally had to choose one Studio Ghibli / Hayao Miyazaki film to adapt for the stage, though, I probably would have gone with either “Princess Mononoke”, “Castle in the Sky”, or “When Marnie Was There”.