Little Amal in Sheffield: Symbolic puppet of refugee girl dances with cheering crowd in city centre

Thousands of people turned out to welcome the iconic Little Amal to Sheffield and watch her dance in the city centre.

After journeying more than 3,000 miles across Europe, the symbolic puppet of a young refugee girl was greeted by cheering crowds on October 29 in Victoria Quays and outside The Crucible.

The 3.5-metre-tall cultural phenomenon arrived by barge at the waterfront where she waved to the hundreds of residents who came to greet her.

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She was then the guest of honour at a welcoming party outside the Crucible, where she danced with fairy-light adorned performers in front of an awe-struck crowd.The giant girl, which was created by the Handspring Puppet Company, seamlessly waved, blinked, laughed and waltzed across the courtyard to the delight of attendees.

The puppet has travelled more than 3,000 miles across Europe

One adoring fan, Karima, said: “I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s such an amazing thing to see here in the city centre.

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"I thought it was amazing when she walked out but then the dancers joined her and everything was lit up. It was beautiful.”

The travelling puppet’s arrival was made into a family fun day across the city centre, supported by Sheffield Theatres, the city council and local charities.

Little Amal meets the the public at Victoria Quays in Sheffield

She is the icon of travelling art exhibition, named The Walk, and was made to illustrate the story of young refugees fleeing from war-torn Syria.

She journeyed over 3,100-miles to be in Sheffield today, and her travels have taken her to Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and France.

At the performance in front of the Crucible, Amal – whose named means ‘hope’ in Arabic – played hide-and-seek with a troupe of larger than life animals created by Patrick Amber.

She then joined a huge crowd of fans at the Peace Gardens for a finale, where she conducted a brass band and watched a collaboration of videos by local artists projected onto the Town Hall.

Little Amal was also guest of honour at a welcoming party outside the Crucible

Sheffield was Little Amal’s one of Little Amal’s final stops on her journey. She will make a pit stop in Barnsley before concluding her 14-week travelling theatre tour in Manchester.

There, she will begin her visit at Trencherfield Mill at 3pm on Sunday, October 31, before visiting Rochdale on Tuesday, November 2 and Manchester city centre on Wednesday, November 3.

Manchester International Festival will stage the finale event of The Walk.

The puppet was brought to the city by the Canal and River Trust