Details have been confirmed about the eagerly awaited visit to Rochdale of Little Amal – a 9-year-old refugee girl in the form of a 3.5 metre puppet. The Walk is a public art projected produced for Good Chance in association with Handspring Puppet Company, world famous creators of the horse puppets in War Horse.
Little Amal has travelled from the Syrian border across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium in search of her mother, stopping at 65 places on the way, including Rochdale on Tuesday, 2 November 2021. Her journey represents those taken by millions of people who have been displaced by war or persecution, especially children. At this time of multiple global crises her urgent message to the world is 'don't forget about us'.
'Changing the conversation and bringing us all together'
Councillor Rachel Massey, cabinet member for children's services and education at Rochdale Borough Council said plans are well under way to give her a warm Rochdale welcome.
"We are so pleased Rochdale has been chosen to meet Amal on her journey. We hope she will raise awareness of the journeys refugees are forced to take and show how welcoming we can be in Rochdale. This epic walk has an important role to play in changing the conversation and bringing us all together."
Manchester International Festival (MIF) is working on the Greater Manchester finale of The Walk, an epic 8,000 kilometre journey.
On Tuesday, 2 November 2021, Little Amal will be welcomed to Rochdale town centre where, from 12.45pm, she's due to walk from Cheetham Street down Yorkshire Street in the town centre. She'll pause at the Better Together building, home of Caring and Sharing (formerly Marks and Spencer). She will meet community groups who provide vital help and support to local asylum seekers and refugees. From there she'll be greeted by Littleborough folk group Oakenhoof and led towards The Esplanade and into Rochdale Memorial Gardens.
In the gardens from approximately 1pm until 1.30pm, Amal will be welcomed by the mayor, Councillor Aasim Rashid, along with young people from local schools, colleges and other community groups. There will be music performed by Wardle Brass Band and eye catching displays from Skylight Circus Arts. Everyone is invited to help ensure Amal receives a warm reception, by gathering on Yorkshire Street or in Rochdale Memorial Gardens on The Esplanade near the town hall.
The Walk is produced by Good Chance, Stephen Daldry, David Lan and Tracey Seaward in association with Handspring Puppet Company and is produced and presented in Rochdale by Rochdale Borough Council and Your Trust in partnership with Manchester International Festival.