Entertainment, News & Events

Studio Ghibli’s historic ‘Spirited Away’ movie to be turned into a stage play

Arriving in 2022.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Mar 21, 2021

Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning 2001 film, Spirited Away, is getting a stage play adaptation, set to tour in Japan in 2022. The play, based on Studio Ghibli’s most-loved film, is for now exclusively set to tour in Japan, but everyone is hoping for it to reach the rest of the world sooner than later.


Toho Co., Ltd, the Japanese production company, is producing the adaptation. They have already announced that they cast two of the actors, including the 10-year-old Chihiro who, in the film, navigates a fantastical world after her parents are turned into pigs. The heroine of the movie will be played by Kanna Hashimoto, having this be her stage debut. A British stage director, John Caird, will be helming the adaptation—a tough job since the movie is so loved, and the play will have to be just as exciting and visually stimulating as the animated film is. In a statement, Caird shared:  “I have for many years now regarded Hayao Miyazaki as one of the preeminent geniuses of world cinema and the greatest ever proponent of the anime form.”


Spirited Away is one of the highest-grossing films in Japan’s history, breaking all kinds of records for the past two decades. It was only surpassed in 2020 by Demon Slayer, but that doesn’t take away from the box office success that the animated film has garnered over the past 20 years. The movie tells the story of 10-year-old Chihiro who stumbles upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park. After her mother and father are turned into giant pigs, Chihiro meets the mysterious Haku, who explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm, and that she must work there to free herself and her parents. This film is adored by both children and adults alike, replete with notions of redemption, wonder, and the most wonderful animated characters and scenes the anime world has seen.


Following the studio’s latest Earwig and the Witch’s widespread disappointment, which was a full CGI film, this stage play adaptation is set to put the studio back on track. Miyazaki himself gave the project his blessings, and trusts in Caird’s vision.


Photo via Studio Ghibli