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Telling Stories

War Horse was originally a novel by Michael Morpurgo published in 1982. Nick Stafford adapted the story into a play, first performed in 2007. In 2011, Steven Spielberg directed this film adaptation.

Although the central characters and themes remain the same, there are many different elements in how these different kinds of text (e.g. novel, play, film) retell the story and communicate its emotional impact.

In the following activity, look at all the elements below then drag and drop each one into the Venn diagram according to where you think it is used. Some will appear in the overlaps of the Venn diagram; this shows that this element is included in more than one of these text types.

Launch Venn diagram activity

For discussion

When you have completed the Venn diagram, look at the elements included in the FILM circle. In pairs, discuss what each of these elements might contribute to how the story is retold and how its emotional impact is communicated. Think, in particular, about how these elements might make the film representation of the story different from that in the play and the novel.