Arts column: If they build it we will come

IN JUST eight days Liverpool will be overrun with giants – two human ones and, as we revealed on our website on Tuesday, a dog.

The 30ft Little Girl Giant will be searching the city’s streets for signs of her lost father, who died on board the Titanic.

Her uncle, who at 50ft tall is around half the height of the Liver Building, will in turn be searching for her, to hand over the letter her father promised to write but never had the chance to send.

It’s a lovely, human story and, being privy to some of the surprises planned to take place along the route, I am sure it will be an amazing event that we will all be talking about for years.

The city’s biggest ever piece of street theatre is taking place not only in the city centre but in often overlooked North Liverpool.

The Little Girl Giant, who first arrived in the world in a space rocket that landed in the middle of London as part of the Sultan’s Elephant spectacular, will awake in Stanley Park on the morning of Friday, April 20.

Liverpool City Council has been working with local schools to make this part of the three-day event very much focussed on local children.

The Anfield community is also working together to create the Stanley Park Festival, featuring food and drink, live music, a family activity zone and a children’s play area, and take advantage of the expected crowds and attention on what is still one of the poorest areas of the city.

Sea Odyssey is the sort of thing Liverpool shines at. Sure, we have invited world leading marionette experts Royal de Luxe to come all the way from France and put on the show – but, as they themselves say, at least half of the event’s success will be down to the way local people embrace it.

Artistic director Jean-Luc Courcoult comes up with a story, his team of designers realise his creations and the Lilliputians, as he calls them, manipulate the giants’ movements in the most realistic way they can.

It is then up to us to let our imaginations run free and let ourselves believe the giants are alive and desperately hoping for a reunion in our great city.

I have no worries on this count.

Never has there been a city where the Field of Dreams phrase “If you build it, they will come” been more apt.

If there’s something exciting happening in Liverpool, no matter what the weather, you can rely on a decent crowd.

once saw people pitching small tents in front of a stage at the Pier Head where the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra was performing an outdoor concert. It was pouring down but they didn’t want to miss out on a free public event.

Crowds of 400,000 turned out to see the La Machine spider, La Princesse, in 2008, despite frustration over timings, and I still hear people talking about it on the bus – a good if unscientific barometer, I always think.

As wonderful as that beautiful creature was, and as hard as it is to imagine something better, Sea Odyssey has what La Princesse lacked – a story.

Liverpool is a city of storytellers – and that’s not just an overexcited arts journalist getting carried away with flowery prose. It’s a true statement.

Royal de Luxe is inviting us to let our imaginations weave their creation into part of our own individual stories.

We are certainly equal to the task.

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