An alumna of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Katie Henry, directed the revival commemorative production of War Horse at the National Theatre. On Sunday 11th November, the performance was seen as both special and commemorative, attended by members of the armed forced and their families.
Based on the Michael Morpurgo novel, War Horse reflects both the human and equine sacrifice that took place during the First World War. The production brings to light not only the ten million military personnel who died, but also the eight million horses, about a million of which were British.
The stage horses, made of gauze, bamboo, leather and plywood, are manipulated by three people, who manage to bring the story of the war horse to life. The production is centred around the story of a spirited colt and the boy who tamed him.
Katie initially studied at St Mary’s, and started by getting an undergraduate degree in Drama. Upon graduating, Katie went on to gain her master’s degree from St Mary’s in Theatre Directing. In January 2019, Katie will be teaching a module at the University on the MA Theatre Directing course.
Speaking of the production, Katie said "Directing the UK tour of War Horse was such a challenging and thrilling prospect, it delivered on every front and was the best rehearsal experience I have ever had. Working with a touring team of 55 skilled and passionate artists, technicians, managers and bringing it all together to create one of the biggest and most successful shows ever created, was an honour."
"I have never been more proud than when we opened this version of the show at the national theatre in the beginning of November - until we did the special commemorative performance on Sunday 11th November, to honour the centenary of Armistice. Standing shoulder to shoulder with my colleagues to honour the 65 million people that were mobilised during the four years of warfare and the ten million that didn't come home. We did that show for them."