The Walk announced for MIF

The Walk is an epic theatrical journey of a nine-year-old refugee girl from the Turkish-Syrian border to Manchester, in the form of a giant living artwork.

Close up image of a face. The face belongs to teh puppet Little Amal

The Walk is the culmination of the extraordinary journey from Gaziantep in Turkey to Manchester of nine-year-old refugee girl, Little Amal in the form of a giant living artwork.

Working together with renowned theatre company Good Chance – creators of critically-acclaimed The Jungle – and world-famous creators of War Horse, Handspring Puppet Company, The Walk will see Little Amal – a 3.5 metre tall puppet and an emblem of the millions of displaced refugee children separated from their families – travel 8,000km across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the UK in search of her mother.

Embodying the urgent message ‘Don’t forget about us’ Little Amal will be welcomed by over 70 cities, towns and villages with art – from major street parades and city-wide performances of music, dance and theatre, to intimate community events, between July and November 2021.

A map of Europe showing the countries that Little Amal will travel through denoted by a red line and blue spots at each of the locations. From Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France (again) and the UK.

A programme of creative engagement activity with communities from across Greater Manchester will help to create Little Amal’s welcome. We’ll be marking the start of Little Amal’s journey in a special event during MIF in July, before welcoming her to the city for the finale event in November.

We hope that families, communities, schools, friends and neighbours - everyone who calls Greater Manchester their home, will help us welcome Little Amal John McGrath

The Walk will shine a light on the region and its people, as a home and refuge for those who need it. It will build on the legacy of MIF projects such as the Beating Wing Orchestra, ToGather (MIF17), The Welcoming Party (MIF17) and most recently School of Integration (MIF19) which saw over 100 people from over 50 countries take over Manchester Art Gallery to deliver unique classes, from food and customs, to ethics and politics.

John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Manchester International Festival said “We’re delighted to be a major partner on The Walk, our first event to be unveiled as we plan for MIF21, and to welcome Little Amal to Manchester for the conclusion of her extraordinary journey. At MIF, we have a proud history of creating large-scale participatory events that bring the city together. As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, a project like this feels more important than ever – encapsulating everything that the arts can do; crossing borders, starting important conversations, and bringing communities together.”

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 reignite 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 dire circumstances. Little Amal is 3.5 metres tall because we want her to inspire us to think big and to act bigger.

At this time of unprecedented global change, The Walk is an extraordinary 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, who are more vulnerable than ever during the global pandemic.

MIF returns from 1-18 July 2021

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