War Horse


'Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along.' Rae Smith

About The Production: War Horse

War Horse is a production based on a book written by Micheal Morpurgo and adapted into a production by Nick Stafford. The production of War Horse includes many life sized puppets. These puppets were the 'Horses' of the show. The Puppets were built in South Africa using steel and aircraft cables, although the puppets were built of steel they were not mechanically controlled, hence why there are men underneath the puppet, these actors controlled the puppet for the duration of the time. The production itself is from London's Off West End, and premiered on the 17th October 2007 at the Royal National Theatre in London.

War Horse is a story about two men each bidding on a foal that has just come into the market one morning, they both bid but one man bid so much he couldn't afford to pay his mortgage; he bought the horse. He lets his son raise the foal until it is ready to be sold to another person, but the little boy forms a strong connection with his horse which he names Joey. Whilst the other man that bid on the foal, that was unsuccessful was mad and angry so he try's to make a bet with the drunken man who bought Joey. to try and win over the foal. Although the bet was un-successful and the man who originally bought the foal kept him.

Whilst hearing World War I was broken out they sell Joey to the cavalry. The little boy was very upset when he lost his poor Joey. Joey goes on to fight in the War enduring death and pain, although Joey does not die when at war many who rode him did. When Joey gets caught up in no-mans land with no rider and the British and Germans see him the toss a coin to see who gets him, and the British were successful parting on amicable terms. The little boy was no longer little by the time the war ended so he fought in the war hoping to catch a glimpse of Joey, but he was blinded by tear gas in the mean time.

The 'little' boy who took care of Joey was taken to the nurses camp and heard that Joey was being euthanised and makes the same whistle he did when he took care of Joey, and ends up re-uniting with Joey and returned home when the War was over.


Rae Smith designed the set along with Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler (Handspring Puppet Association). Rae designed the set, and Basil and Adrian designed the puppets closley along with Rae.

RAE SMITH: Rae designed the set along with two others, but has designed other sets such as 'Or You Could Kiss Me', 'Seasons Greetings', 'St Joan', 'The Seafarer' and 'Street Of Crocodiles'. Rae has won Oliver and OBIE award-winning British set designer. Rae born in Slovenia moved to England to pursue her passion in broadway. Rae also helped design the background/green screen effects for Alice In Wonderland. Rae Smith draws her sets as a motion picture. Although War Horse had little props, her drawings were made into the set giving it a rough but complicated look. Rae Smith has had alot of experience with design and drawings.


2007 Evening Standard Awards

  • Best Design (Rae Smith and the Handspring Puppet Company, winner)

2007 Critic's Circle Theatre Awards

  • Best Designer (Basil Jones, Adrian Kohler, Rae Smith, and the Handspring Puppet Company, winner)

2008 Laurence Olivier Awards

  • Best Set Design (Rae Smith, Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, winner

2011 Tony Awards

  • Best Scenic Design of a Play (Rae Smith, winner)

*Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones of Handspring Puppet Company won the Special Tony Award for War Horse.*



EMILY GOVIC 8pink 2013

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