Londoners are used to spotting the occasional theatre star on the street — but they tend to be less conspicuous than this one.

Trunk road: Oona the elephant causes a scene at Baker Street. Puppeteers were taking the model to rehearsals of Running Wild, based on a Michael Morpurgo book Alex Lentati. 

Life-sized elephant puppet Oona stopped tourists in their tracks as it was taken to Baker Street for rehearsals of a new play, based on a book by Michael Morpurgo.

Oona stars in Running Wild, which is being staged by Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre (a client of made) this summer and tells the story of a boy’s adventures in Indonesia after a tsunami hits.

The model was created by some of the team behind the West End adaptation of Morpurgo’s War Horse. It will share the stage with the professional cast, as well as about 20 local young people recruited for the show. 

The theatre’s artistic director, Timothy Sheader, said: “It is wonderful to go into the studio and watch this beautiful lifelike creature come into the space and watch these fantastic performers really make it come alive with the sounds and gestures they are making."

“I think it is such an engaging form of theatre and I just love the mix of imagination because the puppet is never quite complete. You’re looking at a whole elephant but you’re not, because you can see the legs of the puppeteers, their body and their face doing the trunk so it requires imagination, it requires us to fill in the blanks.”

Oona’s designers, Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié, met while performing in the original production of War Horse. It transferred from the National Theatre to the West End and Broadway as well as going on a world tour.


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