The Artist Series Presents War Horse February 18-23!

February 17, 2014 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

War Horse is one of the most amazing shows on the circuit in the world today. A brilliant combination of Music and very sophisticated puppetry based from Michael Morpurgo's novel (and the subsequent film). The Artist Series is bringing this spectacular show to Jax and it opens this week!

A litte background on War Horse:

War Horse has been popular among young readers since it was first pub- lished in 1982. Michael Morpurgo was inspired to write War Horse by a painting that his father-in-law gave to his wife depicting a horse cavalry charging up a hill toward German troops and the horses being felled by barbed wire. He learned that between one and two million horses had been killed in the World War I, a figure he found shocking. He also had a ca- sual conversation at the local pub with a World War I veteran who recount- ed his struggles as a young man forced to leave his small village to fight a terrible war in northern France. Like most British,Mr.Morpurgo’s family was affected by the war.An uncle died a young war hero while another became a pacifist. Mr.Morpurgo set out to write a book that did not tell a one-sided account of World War I. He wanted to offer different viewpoints to emphasize the common misery caused by war so he decided to tell the story from the point of view of a horse from a small English village sent to the battlefields of France.

Synopsis of the play:

In an English village,a drunk farmer buys a colt at auction. His young son Albert bonds with the colt,names it Joey and raises him. When World War I breaks out,the farmer sells Joey to the military to pay for his struggling farm. Albert is heartbroken. Major Nicholls, the officer who takes Joey, promises Albert that he will look after his beloved horse. Joey meets Topthorn, another army horse, and the two become a team. Soon after arriving on the battlefields of France, Major Nicholls dies in battle, and the Germans capture Topthorn and Joey. The horses stay on a farm where Emilie a young French girl cares for them along with a kindly German soldier named Friedrich.

Meanwhile,Albert joins the army and leaves for the war determined to find Joey. To avoid going into battle, Friedrich uses Topthorn and Joey to pull an ambulance wagon. Another German soldier forces the horses to pull an artillery gun and an exhausted Topthorn dies. Joey runs away and into“no man’s land,” the gap between the German and Allied trenches, where he is won by British soldiers in a coin toss. Severely injured, Joey is taken to the veterinarian at the army camp. Albert is at the same camp because he has been temporarily blinded by poison gas during an attack. The vet decides that Joey is too injured to save and must be killed,but moments before Joey is shot,he and Albert find one another. Albert vows to help Joey recover. As the war ends,the two return home to the farm together.

About the Author:

Michael Morpurgo is a much admired and successful British author of more than one hundred books written for young people. His work, which includes historical fiction, animal stories, fantasy nov- els,picture books,easy readers,and retellings of legends and myths, has garnered major awards and worldwide popularity. Many of his books have been adapted to stage and screen including the film Why the Whales Came starring Helen Mirren. The latest adapta- tion will be an upcoming film version of War Horse directed by Steven Spielberg. Mr.Morpurgo’s storytelling is magical in style and often deals with issues that affect the lives of children. He draws from his own experiences and interests to create his stories that grapple with themes like the triumph of an outsider,survival against the odds, abandonment and rescue,and relationships with animals and nature.

Mr.Morpurgo lives in a small village in southern England and spends his time writing, working on his farm, and speaking to young people. While a classroom teacher in his early career,he discovered his knack and love for storytelling for children. In 1976,he left teaching and with his wife started Farms for City Children that brings young people who live in urban areas to live on rural farms each summer. In 2003, Michael Morpurgo became England’s Children’s Laureate that recognizes a lifetime contribution to children’s literature and highlights the importance of the role of children’s books. For more information on the author and his other novels,visit more about Farms for City Children at

Other books by Michael Morpurgo:Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips,Shadow,Private Peaceful,Kensuke’s Kingdom,The Dancing Bear,and Alone on the Wide, Wide Sea.

Full War Horse Performance Schedule at Jacksonville’s Times-Union Center:

Tuesday, February 18th at 7:30PM
Wednesday, February 19th at 7:30PM
Thursday, February 20th at 7:30PM
Friday, February 21st at 8PM
Saturday, February 22nd at 2PM and 8PM
Sunday, February 23rd at 1:30PM and 7PM

Tickets start at $39.00

To order by phone with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover call
The Artist Series Box Office at
(904) 442-BWAY (2929)
(toll-free outside of Jacksonville 1-888-860-BWAY)
Tickets are also available online with Instant Seat Selection by visiting the
The Artist Series’ website: