'Giant' Boost for Liverpool City Region
Liverpool welcomed three giants to the city in one of the UK’s most spectacular and enchanting events, played out on a grand scale from April 20-22 2012.
The world renowned street theatre company, Royal De Luxe, collaborated with the city to produce ‘Sea Odyssey’ a magical tale of love and reunion which commemorated the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic in an extraordinary way.
The 30ft Little Girl Giant, her 50ft diver Uncle and her faithful giant dog Xolo (pronounced Cho-lo) embarked on a three day adventure from April 20-22 2012, using Liverpool as the back-drop, or stage if you will, to their epic tale.
Despite the visible puppeteers and strings the giants connected emotionally with their audience, eliciting a variety of sentiments.
• One million people visited Liverpool city centre for Sea Odyssey – creating record levels of trade for businesses.
• The Giant Spectacular is believed to have boosted the local economy to the tune of a massive £12 million.
• Shops, restaurants and tourist attractions all saw a huge rise in visitor numbers.
• Liverpool’s city central Business Improvement District (BID) saw a footfall of 990,000 over the three days. This is 53 per cent higher than the Grand National weekend which was held just one week before, and is 37.5 percent higher than the same date in 2011.
• The number of shoppers in Liverpool ONE surged to a total of 279,000 - an increase of almost 25 per cent on last year’s figures.
• National Museums Liverpool recorded huge visitor figures in comparison to last year. The Walker Art Gallery increased by 145 per cent, the Maritime Museum was up by 130 per cent, the Pier Master’s House was up 78 percent and the World Museum saw twice as many visitors as last year.
• Merseytravel has reported 11,000 people went on a ferry during the weekend – a 143 per cent increase on last year. An extra ferry also hit the water on Sunday which hosted an additional 650 people, giving them an amazing view of the three giants sailing down the River Mersey.
• Tate Liverpool recorded three times as many visitors as the previous Grand National weekend and twice as many as Easter 2012.
• The Albert Dock saw an average 36 per cent increase in visitors. Restaurant What’s Cooking reported a 36.5 per cent uplift on last year’s sales with 1200 new customers. The Metquarter saw their weekly figures increase by 24.5 per cent on last year – impressive since there is a national average downturn in retail of 5.3 per cent. Elaine Cunningham Interiors on Chapel Street experienced sales which were 300 per cent higher on 2011.
• Hotel Indigo recorded a doubling of visitors and hot drinks sales were also three times that of a normal weekend.
An independent report is currently being collated and final figures will be available within the next couple of months.
Sea Odyssey generated a staggering amount of positive coverage from local, national and international media. Here is a small selection of the events overwhelming reception:
“These giant puppets have a transforming effect: you see amazement spreading across the faces of the crowds that mill to see the… What could have been a mechanical splendour is full of intricate expressiveness: this is an event that remaps the city; it expands the idea of what theatre can do and where it can be…Three giant marionettes in Liverpool left more of a legacy that any Olympiad, sporting or otherwise.”
The Observer, 22 April 2012
“Look at the faces of the audience and you see wonder. It's certainly a marvel, but it is not just the extraordinary feats of engineering that hold the attention. These giants may dwarf us and even our great cities but it is human endeavor that animates them.”
The Guardian, 22 April 2012
“The streets were packed ; trains and busses stuffed ; cafes pubs and restaurants filled to the brim – the world and his wife and vast extended family gathered for a fantastic three-day spectacle… an amazing carnival atmosphere, and such excitement about it all, such anticipation from children of all ages. Congratulations all round to those involved in this incredible show, and for creating a sensational experience.”
What’s On Stage, 23 April 2012
“Sea Odyssey has put Liverpool in a new league for major events”
The Liverpool Post, 24 April 2012
“Completely exceeding the expectations of all involved… The Sea Odyssey Giant Spectacular tapped into something very special in terms of public reception and makes extremely significant steps towards a successful future for large-scale street theatre in Britain.”
The Stage, 23 April 2012
Not all the losses from the Titanic disaster in 1912 were human. One unlikely stowaway, a giant, boarded the liner in the dead of night, on a journey to join his daughter across the Atlantic.
Unable to save himself from the sinking vessel, the giant wrote a final heartfelt letter to his dear little girl, which was lost at the bottom of the ocean. This story centred on one giant’s mission to deliver that letter to its intended recipient, The Little Girl Giant.