Today (Tuesday 20 June 2017), Joey, the life-size equine puppet from War Horse made a special appearance at Bradford’s City Park to meet some real police horses, followed by a puppetry demonstration at The Studio to a specially invited audience. The event also included a talk about the history of the show from War Horse’s assistant puppetry director, Matthew Forbes. The puppeteers operating Joey in Bradford were Gareth Aled (Head), Tom Wilton (Heart) and Derek Arnold (Hind).
Chief Inspector Chris Bowen, who oversees the West Yorkshire Police’s Mounted Section said:
“War Horse highlights the bond and friendship between Joey and Albert, and as officers in the Mounted Section we feel we have the same unique bonds with our own horses. Whilst not out on a battle field during WW1, the horses and officers in our mounted section are often deployed to the front line of policing where they detect crimes, make arrests and help locate vulnerable people.
We were delighted to take part in today’s launch and bring our own Joey along to meet the equine puppet from the show.”
War Horse is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the British in World War I. Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war before landing in No Man’s Land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. A remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, War Horse features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage.
Kash Bennett, the producer of War Horse said:
“We are absolutely delighted to be bringing War Horse back to Bradford after the huge success of our first visit. We hope that today, with Joey’s appearance in the city, we can bring people in Bradford a taste of the theatrical magic and artistry that audiences can look forward to with this very
special show.”
Michael Morpurgo added:
“After a few months rest, out at pasture, Joey, the War Horse and his great team from the National Theatre, will be touring the UK again, from 2017 through to 2018 and the centenary of the end of the First World War. The NT will be taking their show all over the country, to towns and cities, many of them places War Horse has not been seen before. I am so pleased this is happening; that so many more people will have the chance to enjoy this unique theatrical event. Steady boy, steady Joey. Trot on!”
War Horse ran for eight successful years in London, and has been seen by over 7 million people worldwide since its premiere at the National Theatre in 2007, with record breaking runs on Broadway, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa and most recently China. It has won 25 awards including the Tony Award for Best Play on Broadway War Horse is adapted by Nick Stafford and presented in association with Handspring Puppet Company.
Directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, it is designed by Rae Smith, lighting is by Paule Constable and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick. The puppetry directors are Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, with video design by 59 Productions Ltd, song-making by John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt. Katie Henry is revival director for this tour.
Michael Morpurgo has written over 100 books and was Children’s Laureate from 2003 to 2005. Michael recently won the Children's Book Award for a record fourth time for his novel An Eagle in the Snow.

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