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ArtsEmerson Welcomes Little Amal, Message of Hope, to Boston

Giant puppet of little girl is maneuvered by two puppeteers in front of the Statue of Liberty
Little Amal at the Statue of Liberty during last September’s visit to New York. Photo/Respective Collective

ArtsEmerson, along with the City of Boston and partners in the local arts community, will welcome to Boston Little Amal, a 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, as she kicks off her 6,000-mile trek across the United States on September 7.

Little Amal, whose name means “hope” in Arabic, will carry her message of hope for marginalized people everywhere, particularly children who have been separated from their families.

Amal Walks Across America, produced by The Walk Productions, in association with Handspring Puppet Company, will take Little Amal through more than 37 cities, from Boston to San Diego, where she will be greeted with artistic events and celebrations. In Boston, from September 7-9, she will attend events hosted by ArtsEmerson, American Repertory Theater and the Harvard University Committee on the Arts, Company One, the ICA, and Extinction Rebellion, in partnership with the City of Boston.

 In 2021, Little Amal made a similar, 5,000-mile journey across Europe.

Little Amal is the creation of The Walk Productions, a not-for-profit company that presents large-scale participatory public art in order to bring communities together, challenge assumptions, and produce change.

Giant puppet of little girl bends down to rest hands on should of woman in green headscarf.
Little Amal visits the United Nations last fall. Photo/Respective Collective

“We believe art is an essential means of tackling urgent issues,” the company writes on its website. “To face the world’s biggest problems and help to create lasting change, we need to dream big and act boldly.”

Little Amal won the Time Out Public Art Award for 2021, and her September 2022 visit to New York City was named New York’s no. 1 art event of 2022 by Time Out, and one of the best theatre events of 2022 by The New York Times, according to The Walk.

ArtsEmerson has the honor of hosting Little Amal’s first events in Little Amal’s cross-country tour. On Thursday, September 7, 4:00 pm, Amal takes her first steps in Boston in Dewey Square, home of one of the largest murals in the city, at the southern end of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Dewey Square is across the street from South Station, the entry point to the city for many visitors and new residents. The entire city is invited to welcome Little Amal and celebrate the past and present of Boston’s immigration story.

That story continues at 4:30 pm, when Little Amal travels to the grand gate at the border of Chinatown, gifted to the city from Taiwan in 1982. The surrounding neighborhoods were once known as Little Syria from the late 1800s until the 1950s. For more information about ArtsEmerson Little Amal events, visit artsemerson.org.

Other local stops for Little Amal include:

  • Harvard Science Center Plaza, Cambridge (Thursday, September 7, 6:00 pm), where Little Amal is welcomed by the Harvard and Cambridge communities.
  • Events TBA for Friday, September 8.
  • Egleston Square Boston Public Library branch to El Parquecito de la Hermandad at Franklin Park (Saturday, September 9, 11: 00 am). Amal discovers an injured snow goose separated from her family, and attempts to help the goose fly to her flock, with School of HONK! and neighborhood friends at Company One’s Fall Kick Back gathering.
  • ICA Watershed in East Boston (Saturday, September 9, 1:00 pm). Amal is greeted with music and dancing by Veronica Robles and young performers from the Veronica Robles Cultural Center.

For more information, visit walkwithamal.org.

Giant puppet of little girl walks among people holding bird puppets on sticks at dusk
Little Amal crosses the Adana Bridge in Turkey. Photo/Respective Collective
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