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Huge 11-foot ‘Little Amal’ refugee puppet arrives in Manchester for finale of 8,000km walk

Little Amal will be concluding her massive journey at Castlefield Bowl later this week

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@davidlevene / Instagram

‘Little Amal’, a nine-year-old refugee girl in the form of a 3.5 metre-tall walking puppet, has arrived in Manchester this week ahead of the completion of a massive 8,000km journey.

The puppet, created by the acclaimed Handspring Puppet Company, was originally brought to life as a character in Good Chance Theatre‘s award-winning play, The Jungle, which was based on encounters directly from the Calais refugee camp in 2015.

This recreation of Amal comes as part of  Manchester International Festival’s ‘The Walk’, a travelling festival of art and hope in support of refugees. Little Amal represents all displaced children, many of which have been separated from their families while fleeing war, and embodies the urgent message ‘don’t forget about us’.

@davidlevene / Instagram

Little Amal began her journey at the Turkish-Syrian border back in July, and has been slowly making her way across Europe ever since, stopping off at a number of countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany and France.

She then arrived in the UK, where she travelled through major cities like London, Birmingham and Sheffield, before arriving in Manchester – her final destination – over the weekend. 

Amal first walked through Wigan on October 31st, and will be arriving in Rochdale today, where she will stay until tomorrow, meeting community groups who provide vital help and support to local asylum seekers and refugees at the Rochdale Memorial Gardens and Rochdale town centre.

@davidlevene / Instagram

And on Wednesday, Amal will conclude her mammoth journey with the ‘When the Birds Land’ event at Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl. The event will be completely free to attend and will cap off Manchester International Festival’s 2021 programme.

The events description reads: “Her days in Manchester culminate in a spectacular finale event. Surrounded by the communities of the city, Amal understands that she has reached her final destination. She is now ready to begin her next even longer journey: creating a new life in a new home.”

Little Amal will be arriving at Castlefield Bowl to conclude her journey this week on Wednesday, November 3rd at 7pm. Head over to the Walk with Amal website for more information.

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New makers market with everything from dog accessories to house plants and jewellery coming to Manchester

Get this one in your diary!

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A brand new makers market is coming to Manchester this late May Bank Holiday weekend, with something for everyone.

Taking place at New Jackson – a new urban neighbourhood located at the southern gateway to the city – Manchester Made Market will be held on Saturday May 25th and Sunday May 26th.

Over the two days you’ll be able to browse a selection of local artisanal traders and small businesses from across the region.

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There’ll be everything, from food produce, homewares, crafts and creations to dog accessories, house plants, jewellery and homemade soap.

Among the traders will be Manchester and Cheshire-based florist and floral artists Dot & Flora, graphic artist Ablott MCR selling music prints, HGT with crochet fashion and homeware designs, and artisan candlemakers Leaves and Prickles.

Elsewhere, there will be essential oils and other treatments from Grounded Wellness, permanent jewellery from Sealed Links, and desserts from Cake With Heart.

Supplied


There will be plenty of street food options to keep you topped up while you shop, including The Wild Grill, Food Sorcery, Salvi’s and new favourite Medlock Canteen.


Neighbourhood Brew will be supplying some great drinks as well.

Supported by Renaker, the market is free, but you can upgrade your experience with a limited, free VIP ticket with access to the dedicated bar area.

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Manchester Flower Festival returns with tributes to Sarah Harding and Caroline Aherne

It’s taking place later this month!

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The Vain Photography / Manchester Flower Festival

The legendary Manchester Flower Festival is returning to our city later this month, complete with pop-ups, installations and tributes to some local icons.

Taking place over the late May Bank Holiday, the event will be headlined by its ‘Floral Trail’.

This year’s theme is Manchester Icons, with a host of names past and present being honoured in flower form, including the late comedy legend Caroline Aherne, pop star Sarah Harding and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

The Vain Photography / Manchester Flower Festival

Collaborating with Manchester illustrator Stanley Chow, floral designer Liv Woodward will create a portrait of Caroline Aherne at the Floral Marquee on New Cathedral Street, using sustainably sourced plants and flowers.

Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding will be remembered in a ‘tribute garden’, sponsored by the AO Arena, with visitors able to donate to the Sarah Harding Breast Cancer Appeal by scanning the QR code at the display.

The homage to Pankhurst has been created by female-led Decordia, featuring an ornate wooden Manchester Town Hall-inspired planter with sashes, posters and colourful icons, alongside a wicker figure of the suffragette herself.

This can be found at the corner of Cross Street and King Street, adorned with purple, green and white plants – the colours of the suffragette movement.

The Vain Photography / Manchester Flower Festival

Other local legends will also be honoured with their own installations, including Happy Mondays vocalist Rowetta and iconic Manchester brewery Boddingtons .

Fringe events will be taking place too, at locations including Northern Quarter art shop Fred Aldous, The Bridgewater Hall, the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel and the National Trust’s Castlefield Viaduct.

Selfridges Exchange Square, El Gato Negro, Tast Catala, Franco Manca, Grand Pacific Manchester and Urban Playground will also be taking part, with alfresco dining, festival-related dishes and cocktails.

The Vain Photography / Manchester Flower Festival

Now in its seventh year, the Flower Festival, which is put together by Manchester City Centre Business Improvement District, attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, with live entertainment, workshops, and arts and crafts markets.

It all happens from May 24th to May 27th – head over to the website HERE to find more information.

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Billie Eilish announces FOUR Manchester shows as part of world tour

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Billie Eilish / Instagram & Co-op Live

Pop star Billie Eilish is coming to Manchester, with four dates confirmed at the new Co-op Live arena.

The Grammy and Oscar-winning pop icon will be playing Manchester’s newest arena on July 19th, 20th, 22nd and 23rd, 2025.

The dates are part of a full world tour taking place next year, in the wake of Hit Me Hard And Soft, her fourth studio album which is due out on May 17th.

The full UK dates:

  • 7 July 2025 – OVO Hydro, Glasgow
  • 8 July 2025 – OVO Hydro, Glasgow
  • 10 July 2025 – The O2, London
  • 11 July 2025 – The O2, London
  • 13 July 2025 – The O2, London
  • 14 July 2025 – The O2, London
  • 16 July 2025 – The O2, London
  • 17 July 2025 – The O2, London
  • 19 July 2025 – Co-op Live, Manchester
  • 20 July 2025 – Co-op Live, Manchester
  • 22 July 2025 – Co-op Live, Manchester
  • 23 July 2025 – Co-op Live, Manchester


Presale tickets go live tomorrow, Tuesday April 30th, at 12pm and are exclusive for Co-op members only.

To become a Co-op member, click HERE, and enjoy exclusive benefits.

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