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The Walk puppet
Photograph: Bevan Roos

A giant puppet refugee girl will walk from Syria to Manchester next year

‘Little Amal’ will stop in 70 towns and cities as part of Good Chance Theatre’s epic new project

By
Andrzej Lukowski
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Britain’s Good Chance Theatre made its name with the titular pop-up venue it brought to the Jungle refugee camp in Calais. Then came the Stephen Daldry-directed immersive play ‘The Jungle’, which documented the theatre’s inspiring-but-troubled lifespan.

Now they’re back, with a spectacularly ambitious project that will see Good Chance take its mission to create art about refugees to its logical conclusion.

‘The Walk’ is a sort of travelling festival based around a giant 3.5-metre-tall puppet girl called Little Amal, designed by Handspring Theatre (the South African maestros who brought us the puppets for ‘War Horse’). Nine-year-old Amal is a refugee – and, with the aid of puppeteers, she will literally walk the 8,000km from the Turkey-Syria border to Manchester next year, beginning her journey in April and finishing in July.

Little AmalPhotograph: Bevan Roos

She is set to travel via Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and France on her way to the UK. Everywhere she stops, she’ll form the centrepiece of a local festival or celebration in more than 70 cities, towns and villages, each designed to draw attention to the stories of real-life refugee children. All of the events will be outdoors – you try getting a 12-foot girl through a doorway – and socially distanced if still required.

A full schedule is yet to be drawn up, although it’s confirmed that she will form the focal point of a large-scale participatory event that will open the 2021 Manchester International Festival.

Want to make sure you catch her? You can find out more about Amal’s itinerary on the ‘The Walk’ website.

Missing live shows? Luckily for you, we’ve run through all the best theatre, opera, dance and cabaret you can stream right now – including an excellent production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’.

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