An elephant walking through a town in ruins, yellow-hued background.

Barn Theatre and Poonamallee Productions present

An Elephant in the Garden

by Michael Morpurgo

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  • Company

Following its 2020 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania performances and successful U.K. Tours from 2014-2019 – including runs at Bristol Old Vic and Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe – Poonamallee Productions brings their critically acclaimed production of Michael Morpurgo’s An Elephant in the Garden to the digital stage for the very first time in collaboration with the Barn Theatre.

Beautiful storytelling in action … stunningly performed by Alison Reid” – The Guardian

1945, Dresden, Germany. Lizzie, her mother – and an elephant from the zoo, flee the Allied fire-bombing in the end-game of the Second World War. Escaping the Allies’ advance from the West – and also the advancing Russian armies from the East – this extraordinary trio of refugees meet: a downed RAF officer, cowering in a barn; a homeless school choir on the run and their Countess saviours, harbouring them from the Nazis; and the mechanised American cavalry, appearing over the horizon. 

It is Lizzie’s story – but Marlene, the elephant, is the heroine. Plodding, obdurate opportunistic, load-bearing, indestructible, cheering – Marlene embodies the stubbornness of the human will and how it will do everything to survive.


This performance is available as a stream-on-demand service, hosted on the Barn Theatre website. You will need to create an InPlayer account if you don’t have one already. Tickets can be purchased in advance and will be valid for your chosen 24-hour window.

Produced by Barn Theatre and Poonamallee Productions
In Association with Exeter Northcott Theatre

Based on a book by Michael Morpurgo

Adapted and directed by Simon Reid

Performed by Alison Reid

Designer: Max Johns

Lighting: Matthew Graham 

Costumes: Elizabeth De-Tisi

Sound: Jason Barnes

Stage Manager: Stefania Procter

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An Elephant in the Garden

  • Show Information

1945. Dresden, Germany. Lizzie, her mother – and an elephant from the zoo, flee the Allied fire-bombing in the end-game of the Second World War.

Escaping the Allies’ advance from the West – and also the advancing Russian armies from the East – this extraordinary trio of refugees meets: a downed RAF officer, cowering in a barn; a homeless school choir on the run and their Countess saviour, harbouring them from the Nazis; and the mechanised American cavalry, appearing over the horizon.

It is Lizzie’s story – but Marlene, the elephant, is the heroine. Plodding, obdurate, opportunistic, load-bearing, indestructible, cheering – Marlene embodies the stubbornness of the human will and how it will do everything to survive.

An Elephant in the Garden is the new adaptation by Simon Reade from Michael Morpurgo’s best-selling children’s novel. It is very much in the theatrical mould of their previous collaborations on Michael’s war stories Toro! Toro!, The Mozart Question and the theatrical touring phenomenon Private Peaceful.

“Morpurgo’s magic, a masterly adaptation by Simon Reade…this is one hour of your own life you will never forget.”
DAILY MAIL on Private Peaceful

“a beautiful story, perfectly realised and performed with passion and vigour.”
BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE on Toro! Toro!

Tickets: £13.50
Sat matinee: £15
Concs: £2 off
Schools: £8.50 for groups 10+
Student Standby: £8
Age: 8yrs+
Running Time: 75mins (no interval)
Post Show Talks: Post show Talk Thurs 7pm & Fri 1.30pm; Sat 2pm, Michael Morpurgo will join the team
Assisted Performances: BSL Fri 24 October 1.30pm; Audio-described Sat 25 October 2pm

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Sarah Millican in a multi-coloured dress with graphic design and sparkling gold shoes against a warm golden yellow background
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