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Rendered image of The Hatchling dragon puppet in Plymouth
Photograph: Carl Robertshaw

A puppet dragon the size of a double-decker bus is about to hatch in the UK

It’s going to take to the skies after touring through Plymouth city centre this weekend

Written by
Sophie Dickinson
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We’ve been puppet-obsessed since ‘War Horse’ took over the West End. And now there’s an even bigger one roaming the streets of Plymouth. The Hatchling – a half-kite, half-puppet dragon – is going to be guided through the city by a team of 36 puppeteers this weekend. 

The performance was postponed earlier this month as a mark of respect after the shooting in the city. It has been rescheduled for the Bank Holiday weekend, with the organisers saying there is a desire to come together in a moment of unity as a community’.

The 6.5-metre-tall creature is going to hatch from an egg in the city centre, then stalk through the traffic – so plan your routes accordingly. Designed in partnership with a palaeontologist, the puppet will later ‘build a nest’ for the night before taking to the skies over the coast of Plymouth on Sunday.

The head of dragon puppet in Plymouth
Photograph: Dom Moore


It’s got a wingspan of 20 metres, making it the largest ever human-operated flying puppet. Behind the construction is kite-flying world champion Carl Robertshaw, who has worked with Björk and Ellie Goulding, so it’s all very serious business (and the thing hopefully shouldn’t come crashing down into the sea).

Angie Bual, creative director of theatre company Trigger, said the performance was intended to ‘celebrate our commonalities over our differences. When she flies, it will be a moment for all of us to reflect on freedom of movement.’ The dragon is going to return next year to lead a procession of 5,000 street performers for the Platinum Jubilee Pageant in London.

The dragon will start its journey in Plymouth city centre at 12pm on August 28. It will ‘fly’ at the Hoe at around 8pm the next day, until around 10pm. Can’t get to Plymouth? The Hatchling’s journey is going to be live-streamed on Trigger’s Youtube channel throughout the weekend. 

Like your outdoor theatre? Then you should know this giant puppet girl is coming to London soon.

Plus: if you are heading down this weekend, here are 12 other must-see things to do in Plymouth.

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