This week, see a five-metre tall puppet as it travels through Crawley in West Sussex. The puppet Aura will be popping along to the town centre and parks. And is even taking a ride on an open-top bus. To welcome her, there’ll be lots of events and activities taking place alongside her visit from Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th August.
It’s the Animated Objects Theatre Company who’re bringing this five-metre tall puppet to life. Aura is a survivor from an updated version of Troy, inspired by Homer’s Odyssey. And she’s travelling through Crawley as part of her Odyssey; before she moves on to her next destination.
Where you can see Aura
Aura’s Odyssey starts at Gatwick Airport on Thursday 11th August where she’ll witness those leaving and arriving. Then she’ll travel on an open-top bus around the local neighbourhoods. Following this is a packed weekend of events, including live music, singing, dancing, poetry and DJing.
On Friday 12th August between 11am and 3pm, Aura will travel on an open-top bus. She’ll stop to greet residents at Bewbush West Playing Field and Maidenbower Park, and visit workers in Manor Royal Business Improvement District with a few other stops along the way.
On the Saturday you can catch Aura between 11am and 4pm. Her journey around the town centre begins with a live band outside the Brewery Shades. Then, she’ll walk up the High Street as she’s greeted by local dancers. The Comic Shop will present her with a giant comic book artwork. It depicts the future heroes of Crawley and was drawn in Creative Crawley’s Give it a Go workshop with artist Daniel Locke.
Following this, Samba band Bloco Do Sol lead Aura on a procession down The Broadway. As she arrives in Queens Square, she’ll be greeted by local DJs Tons of Sound, specially commissioned poetry by local 17-year-old Iffat Rahman. And there’ll be dances curated by Dance Hub UK from local dance schools.
Next, she’ll make her way to Memorial Gardens for lunch. Here local bands presented by Crawley Festival will play to her from the bandstand. You’re invited to bring a picnic and celebrate with the international food you love. Activities in the gardens will include ‘belonging’ workshops by Crawley Museum, exploring objects that represent Crawley. And stories for children with Crawley Library, offering the chance to explore the science and tech side of Aura the puppet.
Going to bed and a fond farewell
After lunch, Aura wanders back into Queens Square, travelling up the Martlets into County Mall. Then she’ll get ready for bed by climbing into her hammock. Before she goes to sleep, she’ll be sung Wish – The Lullaby for Crawley written by local mothers and theatre company Murmuration Arts. And she’ll be presented with a giant blanket made up of 30cm squares with designs inspired by the town.
Once Aura wakes up again on Sunday 14th August, she’ll head to Tilgate Park from 11am to 3pm. There’ll be live music on stage as Audio Active present Kustom Vibes. These are live performances by local emerging artists, in partnership with Crawley Community Youth Service.
Aura will also be gifted with postcards, letters and photos taken from virtual worlds that speak of home and journeys. These are created using video game engines by Crawley participants in collaboration with BRiGHTBLACK.
At the end of the four days, Aura bids Crawley farewell as she leaves to embark upon the next part of her epic journey.
Enliven: You’re Welcome
Scarborough-based Animated Objects Theatre Company specialises in large-scale events, outdoor theatre and giant artworks. Since creating Aura, she’s been seen by thousands of people.
Aura’s latest tour in Crawley is part of Enliven: You’re Welcome. This four-month programme of free events and workshops over the summer celebrates Crawley New Town’s 75th anniversary. The season celebrates the diversity and welcoming attitude of Crawley and is part of a year-long Enliven programme. As well as a visit from Aura, the programme features performances, workshops and creative experiences which aim to bring Crawley town centre to life through arts and culture.
There’s more family-friendly ideas over this way!
When: 11th – 14th August 2022
Where: In and around Crawley, West Sussex
More info: www.creativecrawley.com