THE ground-breaking production of War Horse comes to The Mayflower in 2014 as part of a ten month, nine-venue tour of the UK and Ireland.

Producers are hosting a special launch at London’s National Theatre this morning including a rare appearance from Michael Morpurgo, the author of the original book, who will explain how the award-winning production went from page to stage.

Seen by over 2.4 million people worldwide since its premiere in 2007, War Horse is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the English in World War I.

Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war before landing in no man’s land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home.

A remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, War Horse features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage.

National Theatre Producer Chris Harper said: “We are delighted that our production of War Horse will soon be touring the UK and Ireland and we are particularly thrilled that the tour opens in Devon, where the play is set. After London, New York, a US tour and Australia, War Horse comes home.”

A feature film of War Horse, based on the 1982 novel and directed by Stephen Spielberg, was nominated for six Academy Awards last year.

The show comes to Southampton from February 19 to March 15, 2014.