Introduction: Playing the War Horse Game



Every culture plays, and games are part of a common global understanding. Beginning with director Tom Morris’s identification of the theatre audience’s role as part of an “imaginative game,” this introductory chapter develops the idea of considering the relationship between the audience and the performer in the context of a game with agreed-upon rules. Using the National Theatre/Handspring Puppet Company production of War Horse and its many adaptive offshoots as a case study, this section foregrounds the concepts of play and the audience’s role as a way of understanding how we interact with theatrical properties.


Play Games War Horse Puppets 


  1. Kohler, Adrian. “Thinking Through Puppets.” Handspring Puppet Company. Ed. Jane Taylor. New York: David Krut, 2009, 42–150.Google Scholar
  2. McConachie, Bruce. Engaging Audiences: A Cognitive Approach to Spectating in the Theatre. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.Google Scholar
  3. Millar, Mervyn. The Horse’s Mouth: How Handspring and the National Theatre Made War Horse. London: Oberon Books, 2007. Rev. ed.Google Scholar
  4. Millar, Mervyn. Personal Interview (Jackman and Malone via Skype). 2 July 2015 (2015b).Google Scholar
  5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Dir. Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones. Feat. Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, John Cleese. Python (Monty) Pictures, 1975. Feature Film.Google Scholar
  6. Morpurgo, Michael. War Horse. London: Kaye and Ward, 1982.Google Scholar
  7. Murray, Simon. Jacques Lecoq. London: Routledge, 2003.Google Scholar
  8. War Horse: The Concert. Leeds and Salford Quays, November 2012.

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Centennial CollegeTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations