Birmingham graduate joins national tour of ‘War Horse’

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 08 AUGUST
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A Birmingham School of Acting alumnus is set to appear in the internationally acclaimed production of ‘War Horse

Lewis Howard will be playing the role of the Heart of Joey, a horse from Devon who was sold to the British cavalry during the First World War and shipped to France.

The National Theatre play, based on the award-winning novel by Michael Morpurgo, centres around Joey’s journey as he gets caught up in enemy fire, fights on both sides and eventually finds himself in no man’s land. It also follows Joey’s owner, Albert, who is on a mission to find his beloved horse and bring him home to England.

At its heart are ground-breaking puppets by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, who bring breathing, galloping and charging horses to life on stage.

National tour

Lewis Howard will join the production on its upcoming national tour, beginning in Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury on Friday 15 September this year. The play will then visit various UK cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Nottingham and Plymouth, before closing in Glasgow in February 2019.

Rehearsal image war horse

‘War Horse’ author Michael Morpurgo said:

“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, 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.”

Birmingham School of Acting alumnus

Lewis Howard graduated from Birmingham’s School of Acting, part of Birmingham City University in 2012 with a BA honours degree.

Since then he has performed as Callum in ‘Swivelhead’ at Pleasance Courtyard during last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has featured as Jesse alongside Adeel Akhtar in the 2016 film ‘The Big Return of Ray Lamere’.

Lewis was born in Birmingham but grew up in Falmouth, and has continued to work with Cornish theatre companies over the past few years.

Discussing his latest role, Lewis Howard said:

“I’m puppeteering the heart of Joey for this tour of ‘War Horse’ and it's my first job for the National Theatre, so I am very excited and humbled to be part of this production, which coincides with the centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War.”

lewis howard - news

‘War Horse’ completed a record-breaking eight year London run last year and has been seen by over seven million people in 97 cities and 10 countries around the world. It has won 25 awards, including the Tony Award for Best Play on Broadway, and is the most successful play in the National Theatre’s history.

As well as featuring Thomas Dennis as Albert, ‘War Horse’ also features Jo Castleton as his mother, Rose Narracott, and celebrated folk musician Bob Fox returns as Song Man. ‘War Horse’ is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, with Katie Henry being the revival director for this new production.

Student experience

Speaking of his time at Birmingham City University, Lewis Howard said:

Rehearsals for ‘War Horse’ began last week in a 470 square metre rehearsal space, custom built by MDM Props in London to accommodate the large company, which includes a 34-strong cast.

Daniele Sanderson, Deputy Head of Birmingham’s School of Acting, said:

“We are thrilled that Lewis has secured a role in this wonderful production and look forward to seeing him in action when the tour lands at Birmingham Hippodrome next year.”

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