Drama students and staff in the School of Arts are playing a key role with the Gulbenkian Arts Centre in welcoming The Walk to the Canterbury campus on 21 October.
Drama students and staff in the University’s School of Arts are playing a key role with the Gulbenkian Arts Centre in welcoming The Walk to its Canterbury campus on 21 October.
Produced by Good Chance Theatre, The Walk is an 8000km travelling festival of art and hope that aims to focus attention on the urgent needs of young refugees.
Dr Margherita Laera, Lecturer in the School of Arts, said “through art, we can connect with the stories of others that may be different from ours and learn how to respect and honour them.”
The focal point and central figure of The Walk is Little Amal, a 3.5m tall puppet of a young refugee girl designed and built by the Handspring Puppet Company.
She will be welcomed at Westgate towers on Thursday 21 October by a giant red fox, a puppet designed and constructed collaboratively by Kent alumnus Peter Morton, of Half a String Theatre Company, and Sam Westbury, Specialist Technician in Scenic Arts, with a huge amount of help from a team of undergraduate and postgraduate drama students many of whom will be operating the puppet on the day.
Meanwhile, Jayne Thompson, Head of Drama and Director of Outreach for the School of Arts is working with students and staff at Herne Bay High on a four week outreach project which includes storytelling, the making of two giant seagulls to accompany the fox, and learning how to operate the puppets. Drama lecturer Sian Stevenson is also working with her final year community and participatory theatre students in St. Nicholas’ School to develop a short flashmob greeting for Amal which we hope will picked up by the 300 school children joining The Walk.
Jayne Thompson said “we feel hugely privileged to be involved in this project, it is a wonderful opportunity for Drama students, and for our specialist technical staff and academics, to work together supported by the Gulbenkian Arts team on a project which is an extraordinary artistic response to a period of massive global change. Amal means “hope” in Arabic and our hope is that we can play a part in highlighting the urgent needs of young refugees, and help ensure that Amal’s message is heard.”