Good Chance, the humanitarian theatre company founded in 2015 in the unofficial refugee camp in Calais often called “The Jungle”, is behind an ambitious new public art project that will traverse continents and national borders. The Walk will see a 3.5-metre puppet of a nine-year-old girl called Little Amal travel over 8,000 kilometres across Turkey and Europe in search of her mother. According to the organisers, she is “an emblem of the millions of displaced refugee children separated from their families”.
The theatre group, which made its name co-creating theatrical shows with communities living in the Calais camp, has teamed up with Handspring Puppet Company, the award-winning creators of the puppets in the hugely successful production of War Horse. From April to July 2021, Amal will travel from the Turkey-Syria border through Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and France to reach the UK, culminating in a large-scale outdoor participatory event at Manchester International Festival (MIF).
Along the way, over 70 cities, towns and villages will welcome Little Amal with art, from major street parades and city-wide performances of music, dance and theatre, to intimate community events. With each step of the journey documented and shared online, international audiences are invited to share Amal’s story and the stories of the thousands of people she will meet.
An education programme will also run in tandem with The Walk’s artistic events. Before, during and after her journey, Little Amal will connect with young people from refugee and non-refugee communities through creative learning projects, developed specifically for each location. The programme will seek to highlight the millions of displaced children who are more vulnerable than ever during the global pandemic.
This will be accompanied by a fundraising campaign to help support refugees, which will take place as Little Amal travels across Turkey and Europe.
The Walk is produced by Good Chance Theatre, Stephen Daldry, David Lan and Tracey Seaward and led by artistic director Amir Nizar Zuabi. There are also hundreds of international partners who will support the journey, including The International Rescue Committee (IRC), Bloomberg Philanthropies, Comic Relief, Manchester International Festival, Counterpoint Arts, Mayor of London, National Theatre, Roundhouse, Royal Opera House, and Sadler’s Wells.
GalleryGood Chance Theatre and Handspring Puppet Company: Little Amal (Photography: Bevan Roos)
Good Chance Theatre and Handspring Puppet Company: Little Amal (Photography: Bevan Roos)