Michael Morpurgo and Rae Smith at Hay Festival 2014 by Eleanor

A massive crowd turned up and the atmosphere was wonderful in the packed tent. Michael Morpurgo decided to begin the event by telling us how he came to write ‘War Horse’. It all began when he was talking to a soldier in a pub in Devon. He learned about the special bond between the men and their horses, and just knew that there was a story to tell. So the book was published from the horse’s point of view.

Michael admits that he was originally dubious about the National Theatre’s plans to adapt ‘War Horse’ into a play: “It is in World War One, you can’t turn it into a pantomime with puppet horses!” But by now, he can see what a huge success it is.

Then Rae (‘War Horse’ artist) and Ben (‘War Horse’ actor and singer) were welcomed warmly on to the stage. The three of them created a spectacular performance. Michael read extracts of the book, Ben sang, and throughout, Rae was sketching scenes beautifully in charcoal.

But the most fantastic surprise was when Michael ordered us to be silent and Joey (the horse puppet) galloped into the tent! The puppeteers did such an amazing job that it was hard to believe he wasn’t real. In fact, when question time came, a little boy shot up his hand and asked, “Where did the horse, Joey, come from?”

By Eleanor.
Eleanor, 14, loves cats and reading fantasy epics (preferably about dragons).

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