Royal De Luxe to return to Liverpool for First World War Centenary Cultural Programme

By Culture24 Reporter | 09 January 2014

Marionette maidens and mongrels will return to Liverpool in a spectacular procession as part of the First World War Centenary programme

A close-up photo of a giant marionette made to look like a huge young girl
The Little Giant Girl - a 30-foot, 800kg poplar, limewood and steel marionette - will reach speeds of 2.5km per hour on the streets of Liverpool this summer, operated by 22 Lilliputians. Her hair and eyebrows are made from horsehair, her eyes from street lamps and her eyelashes from broom hair© Ant Clausen / Mark McNulty
Royal De Luxe, the flamboyant French producers responsible for the roaming show in which a huge dog, Xolo, marched through the streets of Liverpool to spectacular effect, will make a welcome return to the city in the central event of the First World War Centenary Cultural Programme.

Memories of August 1914 will hope to repeat the success of 2012’s Sea Odyssey, when residents and visitors lined the pavements to greet the huge marionettes, moving from Stanley Park to the city centre in a raucous procession of music and theatre.

“To host one of the biggest World War I commemorative events in 2014 is a huge honour in itself. But to once again be working in partnership with Royal De Luxe makes this extra special,” said Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool.

“We have been in talks with them for some time about returning to Liverpool – but we always knew the story had to be right.  

“Sea Odyssey was a truly unforgettable event, and I regularly get asked when the Giants are coming back. I’m sure the news of their return will see another much-needed boost for our local economy.”

The financial value of the outing two years ago is thought to have been worth around £32 million. Anderson called the company’s work “outdoor magic”, while Jean Luc Courcoult, their passionate Founder and Artistic Director, said the group felt “like we were part of the city’s family”. Their original appearance in Britain came in 2006, when 1.5 million people saw the Sultan’s Elephant in London.

“Liverpool’s streets are the perfect stage for a show of this kind,” he suggested.

“We look forward to returning and sharing our World War One story, which will hopefully touch all who witness it.”

Taking place between July 23-27, their latest adventure will recall Britain’s pre-war preparations, telling a story of some trepidation with the help of one of their most popular marionettes, known as the Little Giant Girl.

The Liverpool PALS battalion groups and the King’s Regiment – one of the oldest of the British Army’s regiments, originating from the 17th century – are expected to play a key role in the performance.

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Looking forward to see the Giants. Watched them last time in Liverpool- spectacular!!
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