by Tash Cowley
A Walk With Amal
Artistic Director Amir Nizar Zuabi asked potential artistic collaborators one question; “Amal is a nine-year-old girl that will pass through your city. She's alone, she's afraid, she's vulnerable. How would you like to welcome her?”
“This event was not only
eye-catching, it was immersive, and it could well be a catalyst for kindness and significant social change. On the surface, The Walk is Amal’s story, but if we look closer, it is a living study of how we treat ‘strangers’.”
Naples by Amapola Chianese
Chios by Sokratis Baltagiannis
Theatre is an incessantly versatile genre, and nowhere is that more apparent than in witnessing The Walk. A giant puppet of a refugee child that walked 8,000km across Europe, inspiring fresh, innovative artistic excellence everywhere she went.
On paper, Amal seems like any other child. She is inquisitive, outdoorsy, loves dancing, and enjoys making new friends. However, Amal is not your typical nine-year-old; in fact, she is a 3.5-metre-tall puppet who went on an epic five-month walk around the world. Sadly, however, this lengthy journey does not set Amal apart from other children as much as we would hope. Every year, thousands of refugee children are faced with arduous, dangerous journeys away from their homes in the pursuit of safety, and on arrival, many are met with hostility and suspicion. It is for this reason that Artistic Director Amir Nizar Zuabi decided to bring Amal to life in The Walk, an epic theatrical odyssey which aims to unite communities through compassion, art, and wonder.
Zuabi began his career as a theatre practitioner in Palestine. Born in East Jerusalem to a Jewish mother and Palestinian father, Zuabi stresses in a TEDMonterey talk that “the refugee experience runs very deep in [his] DNA.” In 2015, the refugee crisis was at its peak, and Zuabi determined that he needed to develop an alternative theatrical mode to properly represent those affected. As a result, Zuabi came up with an innovative concept which took “the theatre” into the very streets that refugees had walked, physically placing the story in their path. Zuabi soon began collaborating with Good Chance Theater Company (The Jungle) and following a series of workshops in South Africa and the UK, The Walk found its feet.
Find this, and more, in the forthcoming print edition of Issue No.8.
In the meantime, checkout Issue No.7.
Issue No.7 features in-depth interview with artists and arts organizations across 10 cities.