American Repertory Theater Sets American Premiere of Award-Winning 'Life of Pi'

Sunday May 15, 2022
Originally published on May 11, 2022

Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) and Richard Parker (the Tiger) in "Life of Pi"
Hiran Abeysekera (Pi) and Richard Parker (the Tiger) in "Life of Pi"  (Source:Johan Persson.jpg)

American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University announced today that it will produce in its 2022/23 Season the North American premiere of "Life of Pi," the acclaimed theatrical adaptation by Lolita Chakrabarti of the best-selling novel by Yann Martel. Max Webster will direct, with Tony Award winner Tim Hartley providing scenic and costume design and Finn Caldwell providing puppetry and movement direction.

"Life of Pi" is currently playing in London's West End, where last month it won five Olivier Awards, including Best New Play.

In "Life of Pi," 16-year-old Pi and his family set off to emigrate from India, but after their ship sinks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Pi is left stranded on a lifeboat with just four other survivors—a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a Royal Bengal tiger. Time is against them, nature is harsh, who will survive? Called "extraordinary and unmissable" by The Guardian for its inventive puppetry, this highly imaginative theatrical adaptation brings one of the most beloved works of fiction to the stage to tell its epic story of endurance and hope.

"I'm thrilled for A.R.T. to collaborate with this incredible team of artists in creating the North American premiere of Life of Pi and to introduce this deeply imaginative theatrical adaptation to our audiences," says A.R.T. Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director Diane Paulus. "Creative ingenuity and extraordinary puppetry bring this powerful story to life. I look forward to welcoming families back to the Loeb Drama Center this holiday season to experience this breathtaking theatrical event."


The stage premiere of "Life of Pi" followed more than five years of creative development. In recognition of the production's ground-breaking puppetry, the Olivier for Best Supporting Actor was awarded collectively to the seven skilled performers who bring the tiger to life every night. The production's cutting-edge visual effects have also drawn huge acclaim, with the Time Out London lead critic calling it "one of the most visually stunning shows I've ever seen."


"'Life of Pi' tells a story that constantly takes people's breath away," says director Max Webster. "It's exciting to be able to do something that's so ensemble-based, so rich, and so full of life. It's really, really nourishing, and I can't wait to share it with American audiences."


"Life of Pi" will run December 2022 through January 2023 at the A.R.T.'s home in Harvard Square, the Loeb Drama Center, located at 64 Brattle Street in Cambridge. The production's cast will be announced at a future date.