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News > PGS > Little Amal visits Cheltenham

Little Amal visits Cheltenham

Little Amal came to Cheltenham in June - it was an amazing event which happened to have a brilliant Pate's alumni connection!
22 Jun 2022
PGS
Little Amal sleeping in Marseille as part of The Walk (photo credit Abdul Saboor)
Little Amal sleeping in Marseille as part of The Walk (photo credit Abdul Saboor)

The 3.5 metre puppet of Little Amal depicts a nine year old Syrian refugee girl who has walked from Syria in support of refugees. She came to Cheltenham on Thursday 23rd June for her ‘New Steps, New Friends’ walk through England which is taking place during World Refugee Week 2022 (20-26th June). Little Amal started her visit to the town by greeting pupils at Pitville School and then came into the town centre to the Everyman Theatre where she was met by the cast of SIX: The Musical and presented with a beautiful floral crown. Accompanied by a merry band of musicians and a crowd of several hundred people, she then walked up the High Street to the Promenade to meet the Mayor and view the Hare and the Minotaur statue. She laid her crown of flowers at the War Memorial whilst a traditional song was sung by a Ukranian singer. Pate's Year 13 student Bhavika Kumar, watched her every step: "All the while she served as a symbol of hope and resilience for millions of refugees around the world. Cheltenham was privileged to play her host, in one stop among the ten she is making around England before she heads off to New York to continue to spread her positive message".

The idea of Little Amal was started in 2021 by the Good Chance theatre company of which sisters and Pate’s alumni Naomi and Emily Webb are Executive Director and Producer respectively. Good Chance work with artists from around the world, bringing communities together to tell bigger stories of hope and humanity. The company had previously created 'The Jungle' in 2017, a play which explores the experience of refugees in the Calais Jungle camp (co-produced with the National Theatre and the Young Vic), and 'The Walk with Amal', a co-production with The Walk Productions Ltd led by Amir Nizar Zuabi, David Lan and Tracey Seaward in association with the Handspring Puppet Company (the creators of War Horse). The Walk with Amal highlighted the journey taken by refugee children across Europe and saw Little Amal and her entourage navigate their way from Syria, through Turkey, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and France to the UK – that’s over 8,000km and observing strict Covid border requirements! Little Amal was a very deserving winner of the Time Out Best Public Artwork Award 2021. More information about The Walk can be found at walkwithamal.org 

Good Chance write, create and produce ground-breaking new work about untold stories of global and national relevance through Good Chance’s Productions and in early July they will be announcing their next major participatory public production for August 2022. The company build the Good Chance Dome as a temporary theatre in areas where expression is stifled.The Good Chance Ensemble is a network of artists newly arrived in the UK working collectively towards creating positive change. To find out more about their work please go to goodchance.org.uk

In 2021, Pate's 6th form students were very grateful to have had the opportunity of being addressed by Emily. She shed light on the many intricacies of experiences behind the scenes during The Walk with Amal, from the plights they endured, including violent far right protests in major cities, to the inner workings of the giant puppet (truly a marvel of Art). She responded to questions about the value of Art in raising awareness on global issues integral to the world as well as delving into her own passion and relationship to the project. With Amal’s visit to COP26 Emily enlightened the students on the intersectionality of feminism and the fight against climate change and revealed some paths where Amal could tread in the future. It was a memorable talk and we hope to welcome both Emily and Naomi back to Pate's in the near future to share further experiences of their work.

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