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The One To Watch: The Little Girl Giant

It promises to be the biggest spectacle yet, marking the Titanic's centenary, but what's the story?

Written by . Published on September 22nd 2011.

The One To Watch: The Little Girl Giant

APART from the fact that the world is meant to be ending again next year, 2012 marks 100 years since the Titanic went down.
Aye, aye Captain: Time, then, to commemorate in the place where it all began.

The place where it all began? Isn't that phrase normally used in conjunction with the Beatles?
It ALL began here mate – world's first Beatles, world's first railway timetable published, world's first laughing gas on sale in pubs. And let's get this straight, the Titanic was registered in Liverpool – even if she never came here. 

So what can we expect then? A free Celine Dion gig at the Pier Head?
Not quite. How about a scary, oversized female roaming the streets of Liverpool?

Vanessa Feltz? She's not from round here, is she?
No, I'm talking about the Little Girl Giant, which will take to the city streets in a breathtaking street spectacular called Sea Odyssey, produced specifically for Liverpool by renowned French marionette experts Royal De Luxe.

This madamoiselle has only been seen once before in the UK when she wowed 1.5million people in London at the Sultan’s Elephant event in 2006. It's going to be a good one, this.

She and the elephantShe and the elephantThey created the Elephant too?
Yes, and you can still go for a ride on it, in its home city of Nantes, like what I did last month. And you can visit the wonderful workshops of La Machine (builders of the La Princesse spider) and go on a mad fantasy carousel that RDL also thought up.

They know how to have a good time, then?
Mais oui. RDL was founded by Jean Luc Courcoult in 1979 with the ethos that theatre should be accessible to all ages and should be free.  The company has performed all over the world including Korea, Vietnam, Chile and Africa.  They have been hailed as providers of “the best street theatre in the world” by acclaimed director and writer Bernard Faivre D’Arcier.

Why didn't they keep this event secret, like they did with that 50ft spider?
You can't lash a giant solid wood puppet of a girl onto the side of a building. People would think they were having the DTs.

Anyway this is the most complex event Liverpool has ever staged and will involve hundreds of people in its planning and execution.

You mean wielding crowd control tape?
Oh yes, it'll be health and safety gone mad. Unlike in Nantes where, as long as you don't get in the way of the plodding feet, it's possible to go right up to the elephant as it's moving. Even closer if the driver has stopped to have a fag.

How did it come about?
Talks have been taking place since 2006, when Artistic Director and founder of RDL, Jean-Luc Courcoult, visited Liverpool and was inspired by a letter he saw in the Merseyside Maritime Museum written by a girl whose father was Titanic passenger. As a result, Liverpool’s ‘Sea Odyssey’ was born. 

He says: “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.”

Jean LucJean-Luc: 'Compelling warmth'I thought we were skint?
Sea Odyssey is the final event which will use European legacy funding from the city’s capital of culture year in 2008. The rest of the dosh 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.

When then?
From Friday 20 to Sunday 22 April 2012, this visually stunning, free event will take over the city, although the story and the route is still under wraps.

Do say
Bravo, this will truly capture the imagination of the nation. Can't wait.

Don't say
"The chief designer of the Titanic had a lisp."

"That's unthinkable"
Or that either.

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