War Horse exits West End stage after seven years
War Horse will trot off the West End stage in 2016 after a seven-year run.
The play, based on Michael Morpurgo's book, has been a runaway success since it began life at the National Theatre and enchanted millions with the tale of Joey, a horse who serves in World War One.
The final performance at the New London Theatre will take place on 12 March 2016.
Author Morpurgo paid tribute to an "iconic play, but not simply a play, certainly not a musical, a show like no other, with puppets at its heart."
He said: "It has moved millions in London and all over the world. How great to see the theatre always full of people of all generations, all caught up in the story playing out before them, in a show once called 'the greatest anthem to peace ever seen on a stage'."
War Horse is the most successful play in the NT's history, bringing in around £13.5 million. The London production will have performed over 3,000 performances by the time it closes, reaching over 2.7 million audience members in the UK and seven million worldwide.
The play features life-sized horse puppets choreographed by Toby Sedgwick and is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris. It premiered on 9 October 2007 at the NT before transferring to the New London Theatre in March 2009.
Since then, War Horse has been adapted into an Oscar-nominated film by Steven Spielberg and won five Tony Awards on Broadway.
Rufus Norris, the National Theatre's artistic director, said War Horse would be put out to pasture and announced plans for the new 2016 season.
"We could keep it going for longer, we could put a new cast in and drag it out, but our subsidy is to make work here and to reach out to audiences around the country.
"We always knew it would come to an end and nobody expected it to last as long as it has," Norris told The Guardian.
A UK tour will begin in autumn 2017.