Little Amal, a 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, has been traveling the world since July 2021. And for the first time ever, she will arrive in NYC.
From September 14th – October 2, Little Amal will walk all five boroughs, beginning at JFK airport. The symbolic puppet has already traveled a sum of 9,000km around 12 countries and 85 cities. She represents “all children fleeing war, violence and persecution” delivering an urgent message to the world: “Don’t forget about us.”
The remarkable puppet was built by Handspring Puppet Company, known for creating the puppets in the international hit play War Horse. Made from “robust but lightweight materials” such as cane and carbon fibre, Handspring had to ensure their creation could withstand traveling such intense distances.
It takes an entire team of four puppeteers to operate Little Amal. Two puppeteers man her arms, one walks on stilts to support her back, and the last controls ‘the harp,’ which brings Little Amal’s face, head and eyes to life through a variety of strings.
Her walk through NYC’s five boroughs is in partnership with St. Ann’s Warehouse, a performing arts theater in Brooklyn. Little Amal Walks NYC will be one of the largest public art festivals in NYC history, with a total of 55 events spanning across 17 days. Throughout her journey, Little Amal will join artists, civic leaders, community groups, and more for her ‘Events of Welcome.’
Little Amal will touch down at JFK at 11am on September 14th, where she will be greeted by Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and its Children’s Chorus. From there, she will explore Manhattan, beginning in the main hall of Grand Central Terminal on September 15th. Her travels will take her to iconic landmarks like the NYPL, Times Square, Central Park, Lincoln Center, and AMNH. While in Brooklyn, Little Amal will wander the Coney Island Boardwalk, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Williamsburg and beyond. After journeying to Mott Haven and High Bridge in the Bronx, she will then visit Staten Island’s Snug Harbor and St. George.
You can view her full journey and the entire events calendar with times here.
“The purpose of The Walk is to highlight the potential of the refugee, not just their dire circumstances. Little Amal is 3.5 metres tall because we want the world to grow big enough to greet her. We want her to inspire us to think big and to act bigger,” said Amir Nizar Zuabi, Artistic Director of The Walk.
To learn more about Little Amal, see here.