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Amal, giant puppet of asylum seeker child, in Dover in Future Foundry event


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A giant puppet of a refugee child will be paraded through a town within a couple of weeks.

Amal, 3.5 metre (11ft 6in) high, has been carried 8,000km (4,971 miles) to highlight the plight of young asylum seekers.

The giant puppet Amal. Picture: Good Chance
The giant puppet Amal. Picture: Good Chance

She will arrive at Dover on Wednesday, October 20, and be greeted by 500 star-shaped lanterns carried by local adults and children in Pencester Gardens.

At 6pm the procession will lead Amal to Dover Castle to a major light event where a model lighhouse has been created.

This event is a collaboration between Dover arts company Future Foundry, the international theatre company Good Chance and Syrian artist duo UV Lab to develop the Welcome Event.

Dover Technical College, in Maison Dieu Road, is making giant chandeliers for the procession and schools across the town are creating hundreds of lanterns.

Lisa Oulton, director of Future Foundry, said: "We are very excited to be one of the towns chosen to create a Welcome Event along Amal’s journey.

A Walk with Amal. Picture:Good Chance
A Walk with Amal. Picture:Good Chance
Future Foundry Artist Zo Defferary making lanterns. Picture: Future Foundry
Future Foundry Artist Zo Defferary making lanterns. Picture: Future Foundry

" Our procession will light her way along the ancient pilgrim route to Dover Castle where she will illuminate an incredible lighthouse, one of the oldest symbols of safety and sanctuary.

"Over the course of the evening the lighthouse will become strung with star lanterns."

The overall event, called The Walk, is created by Good Chance and is an international arts festival.

Amal is travelling through eight countries, from the Syrian border to Manchester, to shine a light on the stories of millions of child refugees.

Each city, town and village that she travels through will welcome her with a cultural event staged by local artists.

Future Foundry artist Frazer Doyle with one of the star lanterns. Picture: Future Foundry
Future Foundry artist Frazer Doyle with one of the star lanterns. Picture: Future Foundry

Amal was created by the Handspring Puppet Company, famous for the life-sized animal puppets for the play War Horse, about a cavalry horse in the First World War.

From Dover, Amal will travel to Canterbury to meet the Archbishop and onto London and Oxford, finishing in Manchester on November 3.

The project in Dover is also supported by English Heritage, the refugee group Dover Samphire Project, Dover Town Council, the tourism organisation Destination Dover, Dover District Council, Dover Community Association and Dover Rotary Club.

Future Foundry are seeking people to help create enough lanterns and free public workshops are taking place for this tomorrow (Sunday) and Sunday, October 17.

These are at Biggin Hall, Biggin Street, from 10am to 4pm.

The Welcome Event in Dover is open to all, with locals invited to follow the procession. Entry to the castle for this is only on foot.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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