posted on April 11th, 2024

Belfast to Welcome Little Amal with Free Family Events This May

Free tickets are now available for a series of free family events in Belfast from Thursday 16th May to Sunday 19th May to welcome world-renowned creative project ‘Little Amal’ – a signature event in Belfast City Council’s Belfast 2024 programme.

‘Little Amal’ is a striking 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee who represents all children fleeing war, violence and persecution.

Presented by The Walk Productions, in association with Handspring Puppet Company and local partner ArtsEkta, she will arrive in Belfast by boat on Thursday 16th May – the first stop in a unique all-island collaboration.

Following her visit to Belfast, Little Amal will make her way to Newry, Mourne and Down where she will cross the border before finishing her journey in Dublin, with details of events to welcome her in these locations to be announced in due course.

The Belfast portion of her visit will be the first major event for Belfast 2024 – the city’s biggest ever creative and cultural celebration, which is now well underway with projects, activities and workshops encouraging residents to get creative over the next eight months.

Just like her previous visits to New York, London and other locations, Little Amal’s itinerary during her Belfast stay will be shaped by community input, led by Arts Ekta and Belfast-born creative director Des Kennedy, who are delivering the programme on behalf of the council.

Her spectacular arrival, via the River Lagan, will be followed by a free outdoor performance at Custom House Square (Thursday 16th May, 7pm-8pm, doors closed 6.30pm) where Little Amal will be met by the Seahorse and the Wolf – two ancient heraldic symbols of Belfast. They will take her on a time-travelling journey through the city’s history in a unique show, co-created with local residents, brought to life by a cast of professional and community performers and featuring music from acclaimed composer Neil Martin.

On Friday 17th May, after a busy day spent meeting with community, school and faith groups and exploring the city, including some of the city’s peace walls, Little Amal will seek sanctuary in St. Anne’s Cathedral. It will be the venue for an evening of original music and art as the cathedral is transformed into a celestial world, with community choirs, local musicians and performers delivering a united message of hope to help Little Amal feel at home (performance 8pm-10pm, doors closed 7.45pm).

Artists have worked with refugee women and community groups to create a handmade patchwork quilt, featuring over 100 individual designs, which will be gifted to Little Amal before she beds down for the night. Following a bedtime story, the cathedral will come alive for ‘Amal’s Dream’, an immersive projection show showcasing original music from leading artist Katie Richardson.

Tickets for both the Custom House Square and St. Anne’s Cathedral shows are available to book now at (limited to four per person).

On Saturday 18th May, Little Amal will travel to C.S. Lewis Square in east Belfast (7pm-8.30pm, doors closed 6.30pm), where she will step through the wardrobe to explore Narnia with Lucy and Mr Tumnus at a free outdoor show suitable for all ages.

Following ‘Do Not Disturb’ – a tree planting event on Sunday 19th May at Colin Glen Forest Park in the west of the city (11am-12pm, doors 10.30am), inspired by Ciaran Carson’s poem ‘Belfast Confetti’ – Little Amal’s final stop will be the slopes of Cave Hill (Beann Mhadagáin).

There, she will explore the city’s mythological roots at the Four Treasures of Tuatha (7pm-9pm). Visitors will enjoy drumming, music, dance and a fire ceremony as Tuatha Dé Danann – the people of the goddess Danu – come to life to offer Little Amal gifts of earth, air, water and fire to ‘protect’ Amal on her onward journey to Newry and Dublin.

Tickets for the C.S. Lewis Square and Cave Hill shows are also available to book now at (limited to four per person).

All other public events in Belfast during Little Amal’s visit do not require a ticket to attend.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy, said: “This is a really impressive line-up of events, which combines grassroots, community-led activities with the very best of our local arts scene, to create a packed weekend of events, with something for everyone to enjoy.

“ArtsEkta and The Walk Productions have put together a vibrant, colourful showcase of Belfast which speaks to our city’s past and our shared stories, as well as our bright future and our growing diversity. I would encourage everyone to check out what’s available to enjoy as we welcome this spectacular event. Come along with your friends and family and be part of what promises to be a very memorable experience in this special year for our city.”

“Over the last number of months, we been working with residents and artists across the city to co-create a spectacular programme of events to welcome Little Amal in May,” said Nisha Tandon OBE, Chief Executive of ArtsEkta. “We are inviting everyone to join us in the celebrations, which will see every corner of the city come alive with music, dance, theatre and art to help Little Amal learn about Belfast’s people, stories and heritage.”

David Lan, producer of The Walks Productions, said: “I’m thrilled Amal will be visiting Belfast, Newry, Dublin and places in between. Wherever she goes, crossing borders, making new friends, bringing strangers together, she adds a little to the well-being of the world, even in these especially dark times.”

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Valeria Harte, stated: “We look forward to giving Little Amal a warm welcome to Newry, Mourne and Down as part of her inspirational journey between Belfast and Dublin.

“Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is delighted to be involved in this all-island initiative and for our residents to have the opportunity to hear Little Amal’s message of hope and empathy. We can’t wait for Little Amal to learn about our diverse community as she shares her story and will be sharing details of how and where to join in with ‘Walk with Amal’ in our district in the coming weeks.”

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Daithí de Róiste, said: “Little Amal is a symbol of hope, goodwill and international human rights and we are delighted to show how warm an Irish welcome can be when she visits Dublin city this May.”

A wide range of free activities and workshops have been taking place across Belfast during March and April as part of the Belfast 2024 programme.

Among the other projects underway are The Hearth, a film-making project co-created with the people of Belfast; Wild Belfast, exploring the city’s unique and hidden biodiversity; 9ft in Common, looking at the potential of 202km of local alleyways and Roots, a cross-community production combining gardening and contemporary dance and centred on the city’s peace walls.

To learn more about Belfast 2024 opportunities coming up near you, visit:

Little Amal pictured in Staten Island, USA.
Little Amal pictured in Toronto, Canada.

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