posted on February 19th, 2024

Belfast City Council confirms ‘The Walk’ event featuring Little Amal


‘The Walk’, a world-renowned creative project featuring Little Amal, a 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee, will arrive in Belfast from 16-19 May – the latest event to be confirmed as part of Belfast City Council’s Belfast 2024 programme.

Little Amal was designed and built by the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa, creators of the award-winning puppets for the hit show War Horse. Since Little Amal’s creation in 2021, she has travelled over 9,000 km across 15 countries and been welcomed by over two million people and tens of millions online, through creative events led by artists and local communities. Little Amal represents all children fleeing war, violence and persecution and has become an international symbol of compassion and human rights.

The acclaimed production will be a signature event in the city’s biggest ever creative and cultural celebration, with almost 200 events, workshops and activities taking place across Belfast between March and December this year. Belfast City Council is investing £5.9 million into Belfast 2024, supporting jobs in the creative sector, creating new opportunities for residents to enjoy and participate in the arts, and showcasing the city as a global destination for culture, through its three key themes of People, Place and Planet.

‘The Walk’ is one of 20+ commissions planned during Belfast 2024, which builds upon the council’s existing support for culture and arts and invites citizens to get creative, through a mix of new commissions and community-led programmes, all reflecting the city’s diversity and vibrancy.

“What a spectacular event for Belfast to host in what is shaping up to be an amazing year for culture and arts in our city, with so much for communities and visitors to see, do and get involved with,” said Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy.

Presented by The Walk Productions, Little Amal will arrive in Belfast on Thursday 16 May for the first leg of a unique all-island collaboration, delivered in partnership with Arts Ekta and Belfast-born creative director Des Kennedy. She will then travel across the border and onto Dublin for the finale to her visit. ArtsEkta is an award-winning cultural organisation that works to develop intercultural relationships at the heart of the community and is home to the Belfast Mela – the largest celebration of cultural diversity on the island of Ireland.

“We are so excited to bring Little Amal to the island of Ireland during this special year for Belfast and can’t wait to see her welcomed by the city’s communities and provide new opportunities to showcase Belfast’s growing diversity,” said Amir Nizar Zubai, Artistic Director with The Walk Productions.

She will arrive by boat along the River Lagan for a spectacular evening opening event along the city’s Maritime Mile. A procession of music and movement will lead Little Amal to Titanic Slipways where she will form part of an outdoor theatre performance, taking the audience on a time-travelling journey through Belfast’s history, brought to life by a cast of up to 500 professional and community performers and featuring original music and dance choreography.

Friday 17 May 
Little Amal will be welcomed at a street party in Writers’ Square, with entertainment from drummers and street performers. A celestial-themed procession will mark the transition from night to day as she makes her way to St Anne’s Cathedral, where she will join community choirs and diverse musicians for an immersive evening of music and song, with the united message of hope. Local artists will work with communities to create a handmade patchwork quilt, featuring over 100 individual designs, which will be gifted to Little Amal before she spends the night in the cathedral.

Saturday 18 May
Little Amal will take part in a unique Lord Mayor’s Day event at City Hall, hosted by Councillor Ryan Murphy. Families can enjoy free fun and games on the lawns, while guests from new and migrant communities will be invited to meet with Little Amal, alongside users from the Lord Mayor’s four civic charities, at a ‘Big Lunch’ event, hosted in partnership with Eden Project Communities NI, with music from local asylum and refugee groups.

Belfast will be the 16th location for Little Amal, who has travelled to 160 towns and cities in 15 countries and won a range of awards, including being named New York’s No. 1 Art Event by Time Out magazine in 2022.

For more details of the Belfast 2024 programme, visit www.belfast2024.co.uk

Little Amal
Little Amal