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Little Amal

Belfast, County Antrim
Amal - Brighton - 0508 (c) David Levene (c) The Walk Productions

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Free tickets are now available for a series of family events in Belfast from 16-19 May to welcome world-renowned creative project ‘Little Amal’.

Little Amal is a striking 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee, who represents all children fleeing war, violence and persecution.

Presented by The Walk Productions, in association with Handspring Puppet Company and local partner ArtsEkta, she will arrive in Belfast by boat on Thursday 16 May – the first stop in a unique all-island collaboration.

Following her visit to Belfast, Little Amal will make her way to Newry, Mourne and Down where she will cross the border before finishing her journey in Dublin, with details of events to welcome her in these locations to be announced in due course.

The Belfast portion of her visit will be the first major event for Belfast 2024 - the city’s biggest ever creative and cultural celebration, which is now well underway with projects, activities and workshops encouraging residents to get creative over the next eight months.

Just like her previous visits to New York, London and other global locations, Little Amal’s itinerary during her Belfast stay will be shaped by community input, led by Arts Ekta and Belfast-born creative director Des Kennedy, who are delivering the programme on behalf of the council.

Her spectacular arrival, via the River Lagan, will be followed by a free outdoor performance at Custom House Square (Thursday 16 May, 7pm-8pm, doors 6.30pm) where Little Amal will be met by the Seahorse and the Wolf – two ancient heraldic symbols of Belfast. They will take her on a time-travelling journey through the city's history in a unique show, co-created with local residents, brought to life by a cast of professional and community performers and featuring music from acclaimed composer Neil Martin.

On Friday 17 May, after a busy day spent meeting with community, school and faith groups and exploring the city, including some of the city’s peace walls, Little Amal will seek sanctuary in St Anne's Cathedral. It will be the venue for an evening of original music and art as the cathedral is transformed into a celestial world, with community choirs, local musicians and performers delivering a united message of hope to help Little Amal feel at home (performance 8pm-10pm, doors 7.45pm).

Artists have worked with refugee women and community groups to create a handmade patchwork quilt, featuring over 100 individual designs, which will be gifted to Little Amal before she beds down for the night. Following a bedtime story, the cathedral will come alive for 'Amal's Dream', an immersive projection show showcasing original music from leading artist Katie Richardson.

Tickets for both the Custom House Square and St Anne's Cathedral shows are available to book now at artsekta.org.uk (limited to four per person).

On Saturday 18 May, Little Amal will be crowned the May Queen, as she leads a colourful parade of wildlife, flowers and nature, from Writer's Square to City Hall, starting at 12.30pm.

Later that evening, Little Amal will travel to CS Lewis Square in east Belfast (7pm-8.30pm, doors 6.30pm), where she will step through the wardrobe to explore Narnia with Lucy and Mr Tumnus at a free outdoor show suitable for all ages.

Following 'Do Not Disturb' – a tree planting event on Sunday 19 May at Colin Glen Forest Park in the west of the city (11am-12pm, doors 10.30am), inspired by Ciaran Carson's poem 'Belfast Confetti' - Little Amal's final stop will be the slopes of Cave Hill (Beann Mhadagáin).

There, she will explore the city's mythological roots at the Four Treasures of Tuatha (7pm-9pm). Visitors will enjoy drumming, music, dance and a fire ceremony as Tuatha Dé Danann – the people of the godness Danu – come to life to offer Little Amal gifts of earth, air, water and fire to 'protect' Amal on her onward journey to Newry and Dublin.

Tickets for the CS Lewis Square and Cave Hill shows are also available to book now at artsekta.org.uk (limited to four per person).

All other public events in Belfast during Little Amal's visit do not require a ticket to attend.

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