Little Amal, a 12-foot puppet of a Syrian refugee, will travel the US

Streaming HUBJune 1, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) – Little Amal, a 12-foot (3.7-meter) puppet of a Syrian refugee, will travel across the United States this fall, visiting key places in American history to raise awareness about immigration and migration. For.

The 10-year-old girl’s puppet will visit the US Capitol, Boston Common, Joshua Tree National Park and the Edmund Pettus Bridge, among other landmarks, during a trek that begins in Boston on September 7 and ends on November 5. Mexico border.

“There is something in the act of welcoming a stranger that redefines who you are,” says artistic director Amir Nizar Zuabi. “I think that’s part of what we’re trying to create when we walk into places that have a beautiful, complex, defined history.”

Stops are also planned for the Tennessee cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville and Memphis, the Texas cities of New Orleans, Austin, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso, as well as the California cities of Los Is. Angeles and San Diego.

“Obviously there are a lot of specific points in our American history that we felt we needed to address and that’s why we’re starting in Boston,” said principal puppeteer and co-associate artistic director Enrico Dau Yang Wei. They say. “The reason we ended up in San Diego is that there’s such a thin line between the United States and Mexico.”

Little Amal begs for sympathy, the puppet of a vulnerable, naive girl who is in a strange place after living alone for a long time.

“She is a symbol for millions of children,” Zuabi says. “Just getting a community breathing together and walking the streets with Amal becomes a very meaningful act.”

Organizers are reaching out to community artists and leaders at each of the 35 stops — which include iconic places in the history of the civil rights movement like Selma, Alabama, and more recent scenes of gun violence like Uvalde, Texas — each anchored by more than 100 Location visits to create special events.

“We work very closely with our local partners to try and understand what story they are trying to tell and co-create an event that is relevant to this community in this location. resonate,” Zuabi says. “I think that’s part of why this project becomes so emotional for many people.”

Little Amal was created by the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa, which created the award winning puppets for the hit show “War Horse”. She requires four puppeteers on each tour, three to move her head and limbs and one to collect the items people give her. A total of nine puppeteers will trek from coast to coast with Little Amal.

“There are a lot of ways that migration is reported and informed about in American, about refugees, about immigrants,” Zuabi says. “In a way, this is a discussion we want to engage in and learn and listen to.”

Last year, the puppet made a 17-day circuit through every corner of New York City, including a reading of the book “Julian Is a Mermaid” at the Brooklyn Public Library and a drum circle in Harlem. This June, she’ll be in Toronto.

The puppet completed a 5,000-mile (8,050 km) trek across Europe in 2021, from the Syrian-Turkish border to north-west England, passing through 12 countries – greeting refugees from Ukraine at a Polish train station and Greece includes stops at refugee camps – and meeting with Pope Francis.

She describes Little Amal as “the wondrous thing that suddenly draws people together” to create a “collective sense of empathy and a collective sense of awe”.

“Every time it’s different and every time you learn a little bit more. It’s one of those things where we learn on the job.” “I need to get a new pair of running shoes.”


Mark Kennedy is in

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