Little Amal Sheffield: who is she, when is she coming and what's happening

After walking thousands of miles across Europe, a giant puppet has arrived in the UK and will make her journey through Sheffield next week.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 12:45 am

Little Amal was made to illustrate the story of young refugees fleeing war-torn Syria, emphasising the hardships that many refugees experience in reaching safety.

The 3.5-metre-tall puppet arrived on the UK shores on Wednesday, making her first stop in Folkestone, Kent where she was greeted by a crowd of local children who celebrated her arrival.

Little ‘Amal’, which means ‘hope’ in Arabic, started her 3,100-mile journey on July 27 in Turkey and has travelled across Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and France.

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Little Amal, a 3.5-metre-tall puppet representing a migrant Syrian girl, is due to arrive in Sheffield on Friday, October 29 as part of an 8,000km journey across Europe (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The goal was to raise awareness to the millions of displaced refugee children she represents.

After Folkestone, Little Amal will go to Canterbury, London, Oxford, Coventry, Birmingham before making her way to Sheffield.

The giant travelling puppet was created by the Handspring Puppet Company, who have previously made the puppet horses which feature in the stage play War Horse.

When will Little Amal arrive in Sheffield?

Sheffield Theatres will be welcoming Little Amal on Friday, October 29 in the city centre as part of the ongoing project called The Walk.

Members of the public hoping to catch Little Amal in action are invited to go to Victoria Quays from 1pm where they can take part in Sheffield Waterfront Mini Festival.

Little Amal is expected to arrive at Victoria Quays by boat at 4.25pm where she gets a celebratory welcome by Stand & Be Counted Theatre company.

Numerous entertaining events will be taking place on the day of the event itself.

People can participate in free, family-friendly creative workshops such as bread-making, creating traditional henna patterns or having a go at craft activities including building mini homes for Amal in Tudor Square from 2.30pm to 6.30pm.

All workshops are free to attend and will be run by a group of practitioners.

Refreshments will be available from Crucible Corner throughout the day.

Peace Gardens Finale

The square will also be decorated with an art installation of Quotes for Hope: warming messages in different languages created by a community engagement project, led by DINA, Sheffield Theatres and Off The Shelf.

There will be performances from One World Choir and Sheffield Hallam University, before Amal arrives at 6pm and Sheffield People’s Theatre present a dance performance piece.

When a larger than life fox lantern, created by Patrick Amber, arrives with fellow woodland creatures, they will play a game of hide and seek with Amal before leading her to the Peace Gardens.

For the Peace Gardens Finale, which will take place from 6.30pm to 7.30pm, Sheffield Hallam University acting and performance students will be collaborating with local artists to share video projections on the Town Hall as Little Amal moves into the Peace Gardens.

Little Amal will then conduct a brass band with a twist.

For more information, see the full schedule in Sheffield here: https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/the-walk-sheffield-welcomes-little-amal-1

Where will Little Amal go next?

After Sheffield, Little Amal will make a pit stop in Barnsley before concluding her 14-week travelling theatre tour in Manchester.

There, she will begin her visit at Trencherfield Mill at 3pm on Sunday, October 31, before visiting Rochdale on Tuesday, November 2 and Manchester city centre on Wednesday, November 3.

Manchester International Festival will stage the finale event of The Walk.

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