Large Syrian Refugee Puppet Little Amal Comes to Pittsburgh (Wed., 9/20/23)
You may think you’ve seen it all but are you ready for Little Amal? The grandly larger-than-life walking puppet, modeled after a 10-year-old Syrian girl, is traveling the country to bring attention to (and raise donations for) young people caught up in refugee crises. Wars, civil unrest, and natural disasters drive millions from their homes each year. About half of these are children and youth, often separated from their families and other resources. An English nonprofit—The Walk Productions, based in London—teamed with Handspring Puppets of South Africa to create Little Amal in response. She’s huge to make the point that displaced kids are not just victims; they have big dreams and potential. And Little Amal is no gloomy giant. She turns each visit into a festive series of interactive, performance-art celebrations.
Here in Pittsburgh, Little Amal is being hosted by a variety of the city’s theater and arts groups, nonprofits, and public offices. Planned events are as follows, all free of charge: Today, Wednesday Sept. 20 at noon, Little Amal walks the Cultural District from Pittsburgh Public Theater’s O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave. to the August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Ave., accompanied by music from Billy Strayhorn. Later today at 6:30 p.m., she’ll do a performance with RealTime Arts and other groups at Carrie Furnace, 801 Carrie Furnace Blvd., Rankin. (Reservations for this are filled but you can get on a wait list.) Tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 21 brings three appearances: 10 a.m. at the City-County Building, 414 Grant St., Downtown. Then noon Thursday at North Shore Riverfront Park, North Side, and 5 p.m. Thursday at Whitney Park, 915 Wilkins Ave., Wilkinsburg. (M.V.)