Little Amal has a big impact

Amal at the canal

Story by Saleema Imam and Sarah Truman with photos by Polly Perkins.

Sheffield Theatres organised the visit of Little Amal, a 3.5 metre puppet representing the journey of Syrian refugees, to Sheffield as part of Good Chance Theatre’s The Walk project. Amal whose name means hope, travelled from Turkey across Europe, stopping at numerous places along the way.

She arrived by barge on the Sheffield Canal, and made her way to Tudor Square where she was greeted by a multitude of lanterns, made by local people, played games and danced with thousands of children and adults who came to welcome her. She then paraded to the Peace Gardens for fireworks, a brass band and films before heading off for her final destination – Manchester – to find her mum.

Burngreave artist Patrick Amber, with the help of many local people, designed and created the many bird lanterns which greeted Little Amal. He also held workshops making lanterns for the children in Tudor square and led the fun and games dressed in his illuminated red fox.

Local playworker Sarah said:

“What an incredible experience it was for our families and children from Pitsmoor Adventure Playground to join in with the celebrations of the day. After a month’s worth of creating and designing at the adventure playground, the children were so proud and excited to be invited to play a game of hide and seek with Amal.

“We then went on to join the procession with all the other beautiful lanterns. The hedgehogs danced and the children never stopped smiling. This event is something we will treasure in our hearts for a very long time. What a fabulous day for all.”

Signs to greet Little Amal