A 'Giant' Spectacular
21 September 2011
A giant story of love inspired by the Titanic will take over Liverpool next year.
The world’s leading street theatre company is creating an event in Liverpool which will be the biggest of its kind in the UK in 2012.
A Little Girl Giant will take to the city streets in a street spectacular produced specifically for Liverpool by renowned marionette experts Royal De Luxe (RDL).
Since 2009, the renowned company has attracted audiences of around 9.6million people to stunning events in Nantes, Berlin, Santiago, Antwerp and Guadalajara.
Liverpool City Council is currently working with RDL, pulling together plans to welcome the Little Girl Giant, who 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.
Talks have been taking place since 2006, when Artistic Director and founder of RDL, Jean-Luc Courcoult, 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, Liverpool’s ‘Sea Odyssey’ was born.
From Friday 20 to Sunday 22 April 2012 a free event will unfold with key city spaces becoming focal points in a story about love, family and communication.
This is the most complex event the city has ever staged and will involve hundreds of people in its planning and execution and is set to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city. 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.
Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Joe Anderson, said: “This will be a magical piece of theatre, the likes of which many people will never have seen before.
“To work with such a world renowned company as Royal De Luxe is a real coup for Liverpool and it’s wonderful we can mark this important anniversary with an unforgettable event.
“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.”
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. Sea Odyssey is the final event which will use European legacy funding from the city’s capital of culture year in 2008.
Jean-Luc Courcoult has specifically created the story for the city. He said: “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 draws me to them.”
This collaboration is the latest involving Liverpool city council and exceptional artists. In 2008 La Machine took over the city by bringing La Princesse (a 50 foot spider) to the streets, and in July this year, 3D experts The Macula from the Czech Republic transformed the Liver Building by projecting incredible images on to it, marking its centenary.
Director of Culture Liverpool, Claire McColgan, said: “One of the major successes of our European Capital of Culture year was filling the programme with moments of sheer magic, bringing together thousands of visitors and residents, sparking the imagination and getting people talking about art and culture.
“As a city, we put on exceptional free events and no matter what walk of life you’re from, you can experience something which transports you to another world – this is what great art achieves.
“There is still a massive appetite for these boundary-pushing events, and as events don’t come much bigger than the Sea Odyssey we know it will once again thrust Liverpool into the cultural spotlight.
“It won’t just engage the city, but will capture the imagination of the nation, and I’m sure, just as with The Sultan’s Elephant, people will talk about it for years to come.”
Liverpool is one of five Titanic cities holding events in 2012. The other cities are Belfast, Southampton, Cherbourg and Cobh (Co. Cork). Visit www.titaniccities.org.uk for more information
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 who are based in Nantes 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.
A critic’s favourite, The Sultan’s Elephant event earned them huge amounts of praise, including:
“This was an event that captured people’s hearts in a way we have not seen before in this country.” – Nick Capaldi, Arts Council
“It gives you permission to let your imagination take flight.” - The Guardian
Sea Odyssey forms part of the newly launched Liverpool Plan which is aimed at changing perceptions of the city and working with partners to promote Liverpool in a positive way.
All other details relating to the route of the Little Girl Giant and the story told by the giant are currently under wraps and will be revealed nearer to the time.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Titanic and Liverpool – the links:
• The Titanic was registered in Liverpool making the city its home port.
• At least 90 members of Titanic’s crew (around one in ten) on the tragic voyage were from Merseyside, or had close links to the area.
• Captain Smith of Titanic was based on Merseyside for 40 years. He lived in Waterloo, near Liverpool, before moving to Southampton in 1908.
• The eight heroic musicians in Titanic’s band were recruited by music agents CW and FN Black of 14 Castle Street, Liverpool.
• Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall has a memorial plaque dedicated to the Titanic bandsmen.
• Fred Clarke of 22 Tunstall Street, Smithdown Road, Liverpool, was bass violist with the ship's band, who famously kept playing while the Titanic sank.
• Titanic’s huge kitchen ranges were made by Henry Wilson and Company, Cornhill Works, Liverpool.
• The long passageway connecting crew quarters deep below on Titanic was called 'Scotland Road' by the crew, probably after the famous Liverpool thoroughfare of that name.
• The Liverpool-based Cunard liner Carpathia rescued all 705 survivors of the Titanic disaster.
• J Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line, had a fine house, Sandheys, in Mossley Hill, south
Liverpool. He escaped from the Titanic by climbing into one of the last lifeboats to be lowered, but only after helping many other passengers into boats. Ismay’s reputation was badly damaged by his survival of Titanic, especially following his very harsh treatment in the US press.
• Fred Fleet, Titanic’s lookout who spotted the iceberg, was originally from Liverpool. He always said that if he had been supplied with binoculars the ship might have been saved.
Images of the Little Giant Girl are available on request. For more information, please contact Sarah Langworthy, Communications Officer, on 0151 225 5582 or 077936 60570.
For the latest news from Liverpool City Council, visit www.liverpool.gov.uk or www.twitter.com/lpoolcouncil
Liverpool City Council Newscentre, Room 34, Municipal Buildings, Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2DH.
Out of hours 0151 233 3040.