My Neighbour Totoro

Escape into a world of magic and fantasy as the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and acclaimed composer Joe Hisaishi bring Studio Ghibli’s moving coming-of-age film thrillingly to life on the Barbican stage.

Experience this enchanting world premiere with My Neighbour Totoro tickets. Explore one extraordinary summer in the lives of Satsuki and Mei, sisters who become entangled in dramatic adventures with their new neighbours. Transported to an ancient realm of supernatural spirits and incredible natural wonders, My Neighbour Totoro theatre tickets celebrate the 1988 animated feature film by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) in a ground-breaking new adaptation by playwright Tom Morton-Smith. 

My Neighbour Totoro Barbican tickets will delight children and adults alike. This hotly anticipated theatrical adaptation of animated movie ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ smashed all records for ticket sales at the Barbican. The RSC’s stage adaptation blends music, puppetry and epic storytelling, bringing Miyasaki’s tale to life in a truly awe-inspiring production.

A favourite film, adored by millions across the world, My Neighbour Totoro the stage show turns this classic animation into a truly breath-taking piece of theatre. 

Tickets for My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Theatre are on sale now! We’ve found the best seats at all prices and you can even check out best seat reviews for My Neighbour Totoro tickets with our interactive seat map.

What’s My Neighbour Totoro about?

Set in 1950s Japan, university professor Tatsuo Kusakabe moves into a mysterious old house with his two daughters, Satsuki and Mei. Separated from their mother, who is in hospital, they soon discover that the house is inhabited by tiny spirits called Susuwatari. Yet, there are even more spirits to discover, not least the roaring “Totoro” who, at first, can only be seen by Mei.

In time, Satsuki also begins to see the mysterious Totoro. A sequence of magical encounters follows, including a giant bus in the form of a cat, enormous mystical trees, and a magical flying top.

One day, Mei and Satsuki discover that their mother’s condition has worsened. Mei sets off in search of their mother but when Mei disappears, Satsuki finds she must call upon Totoro’s help to find her.

Can Totoro help reunite these two sisters? Will Mei and Satsuki find their mother – and can their family be saved? 

Find out, in this astounding, brand new adaptation of My Neighbour Totoro live at the Barbican Theatre.

My Neighbour Totoro music

Composer Joe Hisaishi began to show his interest in musical minimalism while studying at Kunitachi College of Music, Japan. His career began in the early 1980s with the release of his first album, Information. Beginning with Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Hisaishi has produced music for 10 Hayao Miyazaki films. A gifted pianist and orchestral conductor, he regularly collaborates with a wide range of artists including Philip Glass and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and was presented with the “Special Prize” at the 57th Record Academy Award Japan 2019.

My Neighbour Totoro awards

This stage adaptation opens in London for a strictly limited 15-week season, so keep an eye on the next London Theatre awards season! The stage show is based on the 1988 animated feature film My Neighbor Totoro which won Best Film at the 1989 Kinema Junpo Awards. The film also won the top honour of Best Film at the 1989 Mainichi Film Awards, the Special Award at the Blue Ribbon Awards, and the coveted Grand Prix prize at the Animage Anime Awards.

Five Things You Might not know about My Neighbour Totoro

If you’re yet to see the movie My Neighbor Totoro, we’ve uncovered some fascinating facts about this enchanting story to whet your appetite: 

1. Hayao Miyazaki has been called the “Walt Disney of Japan”. He is the creative force behind the 2001 Academy Award-winning Spirited Away. However, back in the early 1980s, his initial pitch for My Neighbor Totoro was rejected by the Tokuma Shoten Publishing Company. A lesson to us all – never give up on your dreams!
2. My Neighbor Totoro wasn’t a commercial success at the box office. However, when it was aired on TV, everything changed for this delightful sleeper-hit. After being broadcast on NTV, ratings went through the roof. It is now one of the best loved films in Japan, not to mention the rest of the world!
3. Totoro is a mispronunciation of the word “Troll”. In the film, Mei and Satsuki are seen being read to by their mother from classic fairy-tale The Three Billy Goats Gruff – it’s four-year-old Mei who names the forest-dwelling Totoro - after the Troll which terrified the three goats.
4. Eagle-eyed movie fans may notice similarities between My Neighbor Totoro and Lewis Caroll’s Alice In Wonderland. Perhaps this is due to similarities between the ‘Catbus’ and Carroll’s Cheshire Cat. However, Miyazaki has confirmed that although he greatly admires Carroll’s work, in fact, the shape-shifting cat in his story is a nod to cats in Japanese folklore.
5. The influence of My Neighbor Totoro on subsequent animated features is huge. Its characters were worked in to episodes of South Park and famously appear as one of the toys in Toy Story 3.

What do critics think of My Neighbour Totoro?

Watch this space for reviews of the RSC stage production of My Neighbour Totoro! 

Meanwhile, it’s good to know that the Animated Feature Film upon which the production is based has one of the best ratings of any film on – with the Press & Public scoring My Neighbor Totoro an outstanding 95% and 94% respectively.


The appearance of any member of cast is subject to change and may be affected by contracts, holiday, illness, or events beyond the producers' control.

My Neighbour Totoro creatives 

Adaptation – Tom Morton-Smith
Director – Phelim McDermott
Production Designer – Tom Pye
Costume Designer – Kimie Nakano
Lighting Designer – Jessica Hung Han Yun
Puppetry Creator – Basil Twist
Composer – Joe Hisaishi
Orchestrator and Arranger – Will Stuart
Sound Designer – Tony Gayle
Movement – You-Ri Yamanaka


To be confirmed

Good To Know

29 Oct 2.00pm, 18 Jan 7.00pm
Audio Described

15 December 2.00pm, 7 January 2.00pm

29 October 2.00pm, 12 November 2.00pm, 8 December 2.00pm, 18 January 2.00pm

15 December 2.00pm, 7 January 2.00pm
Hand-held captioned

15 December 2.00pm, 7 January 2.00pm

Additional Details & FAQ

Access Information

For more information on accessibility at the Barbican, please Click Here.

Cancellation Policy

If you test positive for COVID-19, display symptoms, or are asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace you can exchange your tickets.

If the show is cancelled due to COVID-19 or any other reason, you will be offered a free exchange or refund.

If the show is going ahead and you are able to attend, there will be no exchange or refund available.

Suitable For Children

Age guidance: 6+ This production is not suitable for children under 4 years of age, including babes in arms. Younger children and babes in arms are welcome at our relaxed performances.


5.0(7 reviews)
  • Kirsty Hay

    Oct 21, 2022

    Great puppetry, super actors and stage support. Fantastic music.

  • Jennifer

    Oct 21, 2022

    They did a great job at recreating the magic of Myazaki. It's an absolute gem and definitely worth seeing!

  • Molly

    Oct 18, 2022

    Very impressive storytelling and set design, matching the vine of the movie! Would reccomend anyone to see it!

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