Life of Pi production shot

As part of the Nottingham Puppet Festival, the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall invited us to experience the renowned Life of Pi stage show, which is in Nottingham from Monday 15th April – Saturday 20th April. Based on the best-selling book by Yann Martel which has sold over 15 million copies, the five-star hit show has won five Olivier Awards, including Best New Play.

After an epic storm in the Pacific Ocean, our protagonist, Pi, is stranded on a lifeboat with four other survivors – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a Royal Bengal tiger. But how do they survive? An investigation aims to find out. The show discusses themes of politics, religion, PTSD and strength among others, and questions how and why we use storytelling.

Adwitha Arumugam was the star of our show as protagonist Pi with exceptional energy, humour and charm. She commands the atmosphere of the room, setting not only the tone for the audience but also giving key commands and timings for the team behind the scenes to cue certain staging and effects elements like sound, scene changes and prop swaps. Not a small feat while remaining on stage for the whole production, with only one or two fleeting moments off stage.

The supporting cast do fantastic work in supporting roles, such as Sharita Oomeer, providing some light relief in the most dramatic scenes as Lulu Chen and Lilian Tsang, steering the narrative in key moments as Mrs Okamoto.

A series of 3 Life of Pi Production images showing the actors, staging and puppets

The theatrical adaptation is perhaps best known in popular culture for the innovative staging and stunning puppetry work, and these do not disappoint. You will become just as attached to these puppets and the animals they embody as the human cast, and you will simply not be able to take your eyes off them. They command the stage and even inspire true fear for Pi on her journey. And the production will leave you wondering, how did they do that? If you have ever seen the theatrical adaptations of War Horse or Lion King, then you may be able to understand how puppets can inspire such depth of emotion.

The tiger, named Richard Parker, is perhaps the most well-known amongst the puppets. It is performed simultaneously by several cast members over the course of the play, including Antony Antunes, Sebastian Goffin, Akash Heer, Romina Hytten, Katie Kennedy-Rose, Aizah Khan, Kate Rowsell and Peter Twose. Most of these talented performers play multiple roles, demonstrating their abilities by hopping from one to the other where needed.

The staging is also highly innovative, utilising creative props, immense walls, windows and auditory effects for incredible impact. One moment the stage is a hospital room, the next it is a thriving zoo in India or a cargo ship. Projection, UV, and old fashioned pullies are also used to great effect, letting you get lost in the story while they achieve the right movements, sounds and settings you can imagine, without bringing the Pacific Ocean or a lifeboat into the theatre.

We can’t recommend the show enough, particularly during the Nottingham Puppet Festival in 2024, running from 9th – 21st April. There’s no better time to see such a renowned play which uses puppets in the main cast, after all.

Tickets start from only £22 with fantastic seats remaining for the perfromances on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th April in particular! Book your tickets direct on the venue website today at

This blog was written by Katherine Taylor, Marketing Executive at Visit Nottinghamshire.


Life of Pi
Production shot showing the actor and puppets on stage

Based on the best-selling book by Yann Martel, the five-star hit show comes to Theatre Royal, Nottingham. Winner of five Olivier Awards, including Best New Play! After conquering the West End and Broadway, the five star 'theatrical phenomenon' (Telegraph) embarks on its biggest adventure yet.

Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall
Night time image exterior of the Theatre Royal

With over half a million visitors every year, the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall Nottingham are two of the UK's most successful touring venues, leading the way for arts and entertainment in the East Midlands region.



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