Morpurgo novel hits stage in Sheffield

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The award-winning adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel Running Wild is brought to life on the Sheffield Lyceum Theatre stage from March 7-11.

This epic production, complete with spectacular life-size puppets, tells an emotional and moving story of love, loss and loyalty and of living for the moment.

Running Wild is the story is of a girl named Lilly, who, whilst on holiday with her mother in Indonesia, takes an elephant ride.

During the ride, Oona, the elephant, suddenly becomes anxious and runs from the beach deep into the jungle.

With Lilly on her back, they escape moments before the tsunami hits the island. Miles from civilisation, at first there’s wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures with the orangutans, but, as thoughts turn to her mother left behind on the beach, and wild tigers prowl, and hunger hits, Lilly must now learn to survive the rainforest. And then the hunters come…

Michael Morpurgo, the former children’s laureate and author of War Horse, was inspired by the real-life story of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004, when she went on an elephant ride. While riding Ning Nong along the beach, the eight-year-old noticed the elephant was attempting to pull away from the receding sea water.

“He ran away and, as the water came in, I was safely on his back. He saved my life.” When he read Amber’s story in the newspaper, Michael Morpurgo said it was the one bit of hope amid the destruction of the Boxing Day tsunami which hit South East Asia. The production will work to support the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

Tickets can be purchased from Sheffield Theatres’ box office in-person, by phone on 0114 249 6000 or online at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk and are priced from £10–£25. Concessions and group discounts are available.

Photo by Dan Tsantilis