True story of Milton Keynes girl who survived the South East Asia Tsunami is staged next week

Michael Morpurgo’s novel, based on a true story, is brought to life in the award-winning production, Running Wild, which comes to Northampton's Derngate stage from Tuesday (May 23).
The work from the creator of War Horse is based on the story of Milton Keynes girl Amber Owen.

Critics have described it as ‘inspiring’, ‘evocative, ‘imaginative’ and ‘life-affirming’. This epic production, complete with spectacular life-size puppets, tells an emotional and moving story of love, loss and loyalty and of living for the moment.

Running Wild is the story of a girl named Lilly, who, whilst on holiday with her mother in Indonesia, takes an elephant ride. During the ride, Oona, the elephant, suddenly becomes anxious and runs from the beach deep into the jungle. With Lilly on her back, they escape moments before the tsunami hits the island.

Miles from civilisation, at first there’s wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures with the orangutans, but, as thoughts turn to her mother left behind on the beach, and wild tigers prowl, and hunger hits, Lilly must now learn to survive the rainforest. And then the hunters come…

Michael Morpurgo, the former children’s laureate and author of War Horse, was inspired by the real-life story of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004.

While riding along the beach on an elephant, the eight-year-old noticed the animal was attempting to pull away from the receding sea water.

“He ran away and, as the water came in, I was safely on his back. He saved my life," she recalled of the remarkable rescue from the impending tsunami..

When he read Amber’s story in the newspaper, Michael Morpurgo said it was the one bit of hope amid the destruction of the Boxing Day tsunami which hit South East Asia.

The production will work to support the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.


Running Wild plays to May 27. To book tickets click here