Titanic to be honoured by ‘Little Girl Giant’

Liverpool City Council has announced plans for a giant puppet to visit the city next year as part of the centenary commemorations of the Titanic.

The Titanic was registered in Liverpool making the city its home port and is one of five Titanic cities holding events in 2012, alongside Southampton, Cherbourg in France, Belfast and County Cork, Ireland.

 Little Girl GiantThe council is currently working with French street theatre company and marionette experts Royal De Luxe on plans to bring its puppet, known as Little Girl Giant, to Liverpool, which has appeared in the UK once before in front of 1.5m people in London at the Sultan's Elephant event in 2006.

A similar event was held in Liverpool during its year as European Capital of Culture in 2008 when a 50 foot puppet spider, La Machine, drew thousands to the city.

Talks for next year's event have taken place since 2006, when Jean-Luc Courcoult, artistic director and founder of Royal De Luxe, visited Liverpool and was inspired by an emotional letter he saw in the Merseyside Maritime Museum written by a young girl whose father was a passenger on the tragic maiden voyage of the Titanic.

As a result, a free event involving the Little Girl Giant, titled Sea Odyssey, will take place from Friday 20 to Sunday 22 April 2012.

The event involves a story inspired by the Titanic and the council said key city spaces will become focal points in a tale of love, family and communication.

The council added that further details about the route of the Little Girl Giant and the story told by the giant will be revealed nearer the time of the event.

Liverpool City Council expects the event to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city and said it will be one of the highlights of next year's events in Liverpool to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Funding is yet to be finalised, but there is commitment in place for support from the European Regional Development Fund and the Arts Council England.

Culture Liverpool and Liverpool Vision are also in negotiations with partners and sponsors from the private sector to help bring the event to the city, which could cost around £1m to stage.

Sea Odyssey is the final event which will use European legacy funding from the city's Capital of Culture year in 2008.

Cllr Joe Anderson, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: "The Titanic will always resonate with Liverpool, particularly as the name of the city was emblazoned on its stern and many of its crew were from the Merseyside area. As it set out on its maiden voyage, it was the greatest vessel in the world, reflecting the city's position as leading world port. The tragic sinking of the ship affected people across the globe, and it's fitting that the city where the ship was registered is remembering the vessel in such a special way."

Courcoult added: "Liverpool, for me, stands out as an island in its own right, within a larger island. Passions for football, the revolutionary music and poetry of the Beatles, and the legendary story of the Titanic, give the city a strong, emblematic identity, and the people a compelling warmth which pulls me to them."

Since 2009, the council said Royal De Luxe has attracted audiences of around 9.6m people to events in Nantes, Berlin, Santiago, Antwerp and Guadalajara.

Royal De Luxe was founded by Courcoult in 1979 with the ethos that theatre should be accessible to all ages and should be free. The company, which are based in Nantes, has performed all over the world including Korea, Vietnam, Chile and Africa.

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Giant Puppets in Liverpool!! Whatever next!!

By Jim Henson

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