Saturday 24 June 2017

War Horse puppet goes on display in Michael Morpurgo exhibition

War Horse author Michael Morpurgo (right) with Joey, the large stage puppet from the play
War Horse author Michael Morpurgo (right) with Joey, the large stage puppet from the play

The original War Horse from the West End show will be on display in London as part of a new exhibition celebrating the story's author Michael Morpurgo.

The puppet from the National Theatre's award-winning production, named Joey, will take centre stage at the Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime In Stories exhibition at the V&A Museum of Childhood this summer.

A handwritten draft of War Horse will also be on display, showing how the story evolved from first draft to publication of the book, to the 2007 stage production and then the 2011 film directed by Steven Spielberg.

A World War I painting that inspired War Horse, by war artist FW Reed, will also be on show.

Other highlights will include manuscripts, photographs, notebooks and correspondence that chronicle Morpurgo's creative process and writing career.

The author, 73, who has published more than 150 books for children, said: "I value greatly this exhibition around my writing life, because it gives young people insights into the making of stories they may know and love, and gives them an understanding of how one writer tells his tales, which may well encourage them to feel that this storytelling is for them too, that we can all find our writing voice.

"It is an enabling exhibition, and enlightening for me too, opening old dusty memories. I had forgotten so much!"

Rhian Harris, V&A Museum of Childhood director, said: "Michael's writing has captivated the imaginations of millions of children and we are delighted to have an exhibition that will bring some of his most inspiring worlds to life."

War Horse was first published in 1982 and was adapted for the stage in 2007. The production has been enjoyed by more than seven million people worldwide and will be on tour in the UK from September.

Morpurgo was instrumental in setting up the Children's Laureateship in 1997. His services to children's literature were recognised in 2006 when he was awarded an OBE.

:: The free exhibition runs from July 22 to February 25 next year.

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