Running Wild (2016)

13 May – 12 June

Book by Michael Murpurgo, Adaptation by Samuel Adamson

The largest scale production ever presented at the Open Air Theatre, this stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's book featured a cast of 40, many of whom were drawn from local schools to form the Young People's Ensemble, a chorus who created the movement and sounds of the jungle. Directed by Timothy Sheader and original Chichester director Dale Rooks, it was considered 'a brilliant, life-affirming show' (Radio Times). Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié, both previous Associate Puppetry Directors on War Horse, designed life-sized puppets, including a full scale elephant, and a buffoonery of orang-utans. This riotous jungle adventure entertained audiences of all ages, and highlighted environmental issues and the plight of endangered species. In 2016/17 The Children's Touring Partnership launched a UK tour of Running Wild.
Running Wild (2016)
Photo Johan Persson

The cast

Creative team


The Daily Telegraph

"A WINNER. The puppetry is exquisite, with full-sized animals manipulated so they seem to breathe with documentary life. And as the sun goes down over Regent’s Park and Paul Anderson’s atmospheric lighting kicks in, THE MAGIC REALLY HITS YOU."

The Times

"A role-swapping, puppet-wielding cast…team together to offer vivid suggestions of both the danger and beauty of this tropical wilderness…REMARKABLE by its INVENTIVE, EVOCATIVE STAGING."

Time Out

"It’s A CROWDPLEASER, mainly thanks to INSPIRING and ENERGETIC staging, namely some amazing puppet animals...brought to beautifully articulated life. This fairy-lit stage in Regent’s Park is one of the prettiest theatres in the world, and deserves to be on everyone’s summer night bucket list."

Evening Standard

"What an AUDACIOUS and IMAGINATIVE start this is to the season....stylishly directed by Timothy Sheader and Dale Rooks. And those puppets are things of never-ending beauty."

Whats On Stage

"This ABSORBING VISUAL FEAST gradually develops from a lost-in-the-jungle survival story into a morality tale that pitches a brave child against murderous poachers intent on killing endangered wildlife for profit. The animals, all magnificent life-size puppets designed by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié, are played with tender warmth and humour by their 'handlers', with Oona the elephant exuding charm and courage."

Radio Times

"Beautifully realised and modulated...the puppet-work is fantastic…and other touches from directors Timothy Sheader and Dale Rooks were dazzling: the sung music effects of the sea from the chorus and the patter of rain, the huge blue material that represented the tsunami and enveloped the audience at one point took my breath away” A BRILLIANT, LIFE-AFFIRMING SHOW."

Programmes and Marketing


Misc Images