Little Amal is a 10-year-old Syrian refugee. She has journeyed from the Turkey-Syria border all the way to the UK. Along her route, she has been welcomed with cultural events and performances. She is a 3.5 metre tall puppet created by Handspring Puppet Company, raising awareness for displaced children. The Walk is produced by Good Chance with Artistic Direction by Amir Nizar Zuabi.
Sita was invited by Coventry City Culture of Trust and Emergency Exit Arts to direct Amal's welcome to Coventry. She created 'Coventry Embraces', a spectacular light, sound and dance show in front of Coventry Cathedral. Incorporating video projection by Yeast Culture, the production told a story of Coventry's past with bombing in the blitz, and Amal reflected on the memory of places she'd fled from in Aleppo. With spoken work poetry by Coventry's Young Poet Laureate and verbatim interview material from refugees and NHS migrant workers, the show celebrated Coventry's City of Sanctuary status, and offered visions of welcome, hope and shared humanity.
BBC News coverage featuring footage from the show
Director: Sita Thomas
Composer: Niraj Chag
Video Design: Nick Hillel, Yeast Culture
Lighting Design: Craig West
Choreography: Nathan Marsh
Pyrotechnics: Paul Bryce, lightfires
Costume Design: Hannah Marshall
Coventry City of Culture Trust Producers: Harriet Usher, Ben Pickering
📷 Dylan Parrin
Live interview with David Lan and Sita Thomas on BBC Midlands news
At the heart of The Walk is ‘Little Amal’, a 3.5 metre-tall puppet of a young refugee girl, created by the acclaimed Handspring Puppet Company. Representing all displaced children, many separated from their families, Little Amal will have walked across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the UK, heading for a finale event in Manchester, England in November 2021. She will travel a remarkable 8,000km in total, celebrating the power of art and shared humanity wherever she goes.
At this time of unprecedented global change, The Walk is an artistic response: a cultural odyssey transcending borders, politics and language to tell a new story of shared humanity – and to ensure the world doesn’t forget the millions of displaced children, each with their own story.
Coventry welcomes little Amal.
After walking through the city, Little Amal will witness the first Children’s Citizenship Ceremony and Celebration, designed by and for the young people of Coventry.
The evening is a theatre performance, featuring sound, light and choreography. The dusk brings a moment of reflection for Little Amal; she remembers how far she’s come from her home and how much she’s learned. Amal remembers her hometown and is reminded that she will always have a place in Coventry.
Good Chance, Stephen Daldry, David Lan and Tracey Seaward and Naomi Webb present a Good Chance Theatre Production in association with Handspring Puppet Company produced and presented in Coventry by Coventry City of Culture Trust and Emergency Exit Arts. Directed by Sita Thomas.