War Horse, Essential Revision Notes

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Table of Contents

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (adapted for stage by Nick Stafford) 5

Context 5

Background 6

Summary 7

Character List 8

The Horses 8

The Family 8

The Villagers 8

British Army 8

German Army 9

French Civilians 9

Development Process 10

JANUARY 2005 10

Adaptation Challenges 10

Production Elements 12

Timeline 13

The Puppets in War Horse 14

Making a horse 14

Breathing life into the puppet 14

World War I 16

WHAT? 16

WHO? 16

WHY? 16

WHEN? 16

HOW? 16


THEN? 17

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (adapted for stage by Nick Stafford)


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 novels, 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 adaptation 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...

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