A giant puppet will walk through Greater Manchester next month

A giant puppet will walk through Greater Manchester next month, greeted by a flock of puppet birds.

Little Amal is a 3.5 meter high living work of art that has traveled 8000 km visiting cities across Europe before reaching Britain.

The figure is based on a nine-year-old refugee girl, and the epic road from the Turkish-Syrian border to Britain replicates the journey that millions of people have displaced due to war or persecution.

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The Walk events have taken place in 65 different villages, towns and cities across the continent, but Manchester is hosting the grand finale in November.

On Wednesday 3 November at the Castlefield Bowl, the Manchester International Festival will host When the Birds Land.

The art organization has worked with local schools and refugee communities to create the free event that will be a flock of puppets.

Little Amal will also visit communities in Rochdale and Wigan before reaching the city center.

Events that have already taken place in Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium have seen groups of dancers, singers, filmmakers, painters greet the huge puppet.

Here in Manchester, a city with the highest concentration of scattered asylum seekers in the UK outside London, Little Amal will be welcomed by local famous faces as well as live music and dancing.

4000 local school children will be able to engage in a learning program from MIF during November.

Training packages, artist-led sessions, interactive gatherings and puppet-making workshops are all arranged with local schools.

John McGrath, artistic director and CEO of the Manchester International Festival, said: “We are delighted to be a major partner at The Walk.

“At the Manchester International Festival, we have a proud history of creating participatory events that bring the city together.

“As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, the ability of art and projects like these to initiate important conversations, create connections and safely bring communities together is more important than ever.

“We hope everyone who calls Greater Manchester their home will help us welcome Little Amal when she arrives at the end of her long journey.”

Amir Nizar Zuabi, artistic director of The Walk, stated: “It is because the attention of the world is elsewhere right now that it is more important than ever to revive the conversation about the refugee crisis and change the narrative around it.

“Yes, refugees need food and blankets, but they also need dignity and a voice.

“The purpose of The Walk is to highlight the potential of the refugee, not just their terrible circumstances.

“Little Amal is 3.5 meters tall because we want her to inspire us to think big and act bigger.”

The Walk is a public art project produced by Stephen Daldry, David Lan, Tracey Seaward and Naomi Webb for Good Chance, co-producers of the critically acclaimed The Jungle, in collaboration with Handspring Puppet Company, world-famous creators of the Horse Dolls in War Horse.

When The Birds Land’s creative team includes the famous puppet master Sarah Wright and film and theater director Simon Stone.

Tickets for When the Birds Land are free and can be booked on mif.co.uk from 14 October.

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