The internationally renowned giant puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian displaced child is visiting Cheltenham this month. ‘Little Amal’ has just left Lviv in Ukraine, where she met displaced children and families fleeing the violence of war. She will be in Gloucestershire to mark National Refugee Week.

Designed by Handspring Puppet Company, who created the War Horse puppet for the theatre tour, Amal hit the headlines last year when she walked 5,000 miles from the Syrian border in Turkey to Manchester. As part of a project to highlight the journey, millions of refugee children make each year, many without their parents.

She will spend the day in Cheltenham, The Festival Town, on Thursday 23 June.

The Little Amal puppet touring the world

Amal will be greeted by students at a local school before heading to the town centre where she’ll get a flavour of the various festivals that Cheltenham enjoys, and local children will welcome her using a host of different artforms.

The visit has been arranged by Chief Executive of the Everyman Theatre, Mark Goucher. He said, “We are honoured to have Amal visit Cheltenham. The Everyman Theatre has supported Amal and raised awareness of her journey and displaced children since she left the Turkey Syrian border in 2021. We are committed to supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Gloucestershire and delighted to be working with Cheltenham Borough Council; Visit Cheltenham; Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees; GARAS; Lives of Colour and Cheltenham Festivals to welcome Amal.”

The Everyman Theatre hosted a special ‘Stand Up For Ukraine’ evening in April which raised over £50,000 with the money being divided between the Disasters Emergency Committee, Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, and Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees.

At the Everyman Amal will be given a royal welcome from the Queens of King Henry VIII; the cast of SIX the musical at 5 pm. And as she walks through the town centre, she will be entertained by children playing music and signing welcome poems to her.

Amal will meet the Mayor, lay flowers and remember those she has lost at the War Memorial. The sound of drumming will draw her to the Imperial Gardens where she will enjoy the children’s music and singing. Amal’s last memory of Cheltenham, the festival town, will be dancing with children of many different nationalities in a celebration of the life that we share.

Councillor Flo Clucas, cabinet member for Safety and Communities said, “Welcoming Amal will be a wonderful experience. My thanks to all who have made this happen. Amal, a girl puppet, represents all those who have had to leave precious loved ones and homes to travel to a safe place many miles away.

Cheltenham, where we hope they feel welcomed, is one such place. Please come and say hello to Amal and greet all those who live in our community as welcome friends.”

The main events happen from 5 pm outside the Everyman. Amal will walk to the Promenade; the War Memorial and on to Imperial Gardens where there will be music, dancing and singing.

Looking for more spectacular events to fill your summer evenings in Cheltenham? Check out our helpful Cheltenham Summer Events Guide and Cheltenham Festivals Guide for all of this years unmissable summer events.


Everyman Theatre
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Everyman Theatre

The Everyman is Gloucestershire's theatre - and has been serving the county (and beyond) since 1891.



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