Morpugo book runs wild into Northampton

Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo. Ava Potter as Lilly sitting on Oona the elephant.
Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo. Ava Potter as Lilly sitting on Oona the elephant.
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An inspiring and evocative novel by Michael Morpurgo, based on a true story, has been brought to life in an award winning stage production complete with spectacular life size puppets.

Running Wild tells the story of a girl named Lilly who, whilst on holiday with her mother in Indonesia, takes an elephant ride. During the ride Oona, the elephant, suddenly becomes anxious and runs from the beach deep into the jungle. With Lilly on her back they escape moments before a tsunami hits the island.

Miles from civilisation, at first there is wonder, discovery and tree top adventures with the orangutans, but as thoughts turn to her mother left behind on the beach and wild tigers prowl and hunger hits, Lilly must learn to survive the rainforest. And then the hunters come ...

Morgurgo, the former children’s laureate and author of War Horse, was inspired by the real life story of eight year old Amber Owen who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004 when she went on an elephant ride. While riding along the beach Amber noticed the elephant was attempting to pull away from the receding sea water. She said: “He ran away and as the water came in I was safely on his back, He saved my life.”

When Morpurgo read Amber’s story in the newspaper he said it was the one bit of hope amid the destruction of the Boxing Day tsunami which hit South Asia. The production will work to support the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

Running Wild will be performed at the Royal and Derngate in Northampton from Tuesday May 23 to Saturday May 27 next year. Tickets will go on sale soon, check the website www.royalandderngate.co.uk or call the box office on 01604 624811.