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GKIDS Films Bringing 'Spirited Away: Live On Stage' To US Cinemas


In Japan, one surprising way anime and manga find a new lease of life is in theatre. Every anime franchise worth its salt has had a live stage show (or in some case more than one). For obvious reasons, western fans don't often get a chance to experience them. Short of learning Japanese and hopping on a plane there's not a lot you can do.

GKIDS Films has announced that they have acquired the rights to the stage adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki's classic Spirited Away. The play was filmed during its highly successful run at the historic Imperial Theatre in Tokyo in 2022. It was adapted and directed by Tony-winner John Caird, Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. 

GKIDS will release two separate filmed performances. The cast is led by Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi, double-cast as the lead heroine Chihiro. Character actor Mari Natsuki who voiced the sorceress Yubaba and her twin Zeniba in the original movie reprises her role, accompanied by voice actor Romi Park. The rest of the cast is packed with some of Japan's finest actors.

"We are thrilled to offer this unique opportunity for Studio Ghibli fans in America to experience the stage production that wowed Japanese press and audiences last year," said GKIDS’ President David Jesteadt. "This imaginative stage adaptation by the legendary John Caird, featuring two wonderful performances by lead actors Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi, helps bring to life one of the greatest films of all time in a dazzling new way."

This is a very rare opportunity for western audiences to get to experience such a stage adaptation. If you would like to see more like this then make sure you support this release. 

Spirited Away: Live On Stage will be released theatrically during Spring 2023. It was created in association with Studio Ghibli and is presented by Toho Co Ltd. The deal was negotiated between GKIDS and Toho.

This news follows on from the recent stage adaptation of My Neighbor Totoro from The Royal Shakespeare Company which completed a successful run at the Barbican in London.