ONE LITTLE GIRL. ONE BIG HOPE.
LITTLE AMAL WILL BE VISITING BIRMINGHAM OCTOBER 11-12.
AMAL’S VISIT TO BIRMINGHAM IS PART OF AMAL WALKS ACROSS AMERICA: A NATIONWIDE JOURNEY SPANNING MORE THAN 35 CITIES & TOWNS, 100 EVENTS, 300+ PARTNERS INCLUDING THE ALABAMA SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS DANCE DEPARTMENT, BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS INSTITUTE, BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS NATIONAL MONUMENT, CAREY FOUNTAIN, CARLTON REESE MEMORIAL UNITY CHOIR, CITY OF BIRMINGHAM, CITY WALK BHAM, CREATE BIRMINGHAM, LONNIE HOLLEY, SAHI ON KO DJONY, SIXTEENTH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH, SLOSS FURNACES,
AND YAA SAMAR! DANCE THEATRE (YSDT).
Birmingham, AL – Little Amal, the internationally-celebrated 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, will be arriving in Birmingham, Alabama on October 11-12, 2023 as part of her epic 6,000-mile journey across the United States this fall. Throughout the two-month trek, which will span more than 35 U.S. cities and towns for 100+ events, some of the country’s most influential cultural institutions and artists will come together to greet Amal and add their unique color to the rich tapestry of America’s story.
On October 11 and 12, Birmingham will hold three public events to welcome Amal to The Magic City. These events are free and will take place at City Walk BHAM, Sloss Furnaces, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
On Wednesday, October 11 from 6 PM – 7 PM, the public is invited to greet Amal at City Walk BHAM for “When the Children Gather.” This live site-specific performance will begin at 18th St N and travel to 21st St N, and will uplift the power of youth through dance, theater and music. Little Amal will gather with over 40 young dancers from the Alabama School of Fine Arts in collaboration with acclaimed musician Lonnie Holley – a Birmingham native – for a celebration of the power of young people. Inspired by the 1963 Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, which helped lead to the eventual passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this production is created by Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre (Palestine/US), directed by Alabama native Samar Haddad King, and produced by Create Birmingham in association with the Alabama School of Fine Arts Dance Department.
On Thursday, October 12 from 9 AM – 10 AM, Little Amal will visit Sloss Furnaces, joined by local students, to participate in an interactive exploration and iron pour. This event will feature Artistic Direction from Sloss Metal Arts and Birmingham artist Carey Fountain, as well as performances by Birmingham-based West African dance and drumming ensemble, Sahi On Ko Djony. There will be a second event on Thursday, October 12 from 11 AM – 12 PM in the Birmingham Civil Rights District. Starting at 10 AM, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will welcome guests to Heritage Alive!, a cultural community event that is open to all. Participants will have the opportunity to explore relevant literature, connect with local refugee and civic organizations, and create signs, streamers, and paper flowers for the Children’s March. At 11 AM, a send-off for Amal will commence outside of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, featuring a poetry reading by Alabama Poet Laureate Ashley Jones. Immediately following the reading, there will be a Children’s March through Kelly Ingram Park, and marchers along with Amal will lay flowers at the “Four Spirits” memorial statue. The march culminates at the steps of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church with a performance by the Carlton Reese Memorial Unity Choir.
Amal Walks Across America: Birmingham is presented by The Walk Productions in partnership with Handspring Puppet Company, The Office Arts (US Production Partner), Create Birmingham, City of Birmingham, City Walk BHAM, Alabama School of Fine Arts Dance Department, Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre, Lonnie Holley, Sloss Furnaces, Carey Fountain, Sahi On Ko Djony, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Ashley Jones, and the Carlton Reese Memorial Unity Choir.
“Amal stands for unity and hope, and we couldn’t impart this message without the hundreds of partners, large and small, coming together to support us as we embark on this journey. Each artist, organization and institution has a story to tell about their unique slice of American history and culture, and is inviting Amal and all Americans to learn about what makes this country’s heart beat.”
-The Walk Productions Artistic Director Amir Nizar Zuabi
All events are free and open to the public. To register visit createbirmingham.org.
The Walk Productions is led by David Lan and Tracey Seaward. Playwright/Director Amir Nizar Zuabi serves as Artistic Director, Sarah Loader is Executive Producer, and the Associate Artistic Directors are Khadijat Oseni and Enrico Dau Yang Wey.
The U.S. Producing Partner for Amal’s journey is THE OFFICE performing arts+film, a global producing and production company that leverages art for social good. Amal’s Impact and Outreach will be led by The Soze Agency, a social impact creative agency located in Brooklyn, NY. Marketing and advertising for Amal’s journey will be led by Cause Lab, a human-centered advertising agency.
Amal was designed and built by the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa, creators of the award-winning puppets for the hit show War Horse.
Amal is inspired by a character in Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s play The Jungle, about a refugee camp in Calais, France. The Walk 2021 was a co-production with Good Chance Theatre.
Amal Walks Across America was made possible with an inaugural investment from the Doris Duke Foundation, as well as leadership support from the Bezos Family Foundation. Additional generous support was provided by the Backstage Trust, the Barr Foundation, Sunny Bates, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Choose Love, The Conrad Prebys Foundation, the Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, Ruby Lerner, the McMillan Stewart Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Opportunity Fund, The Shapiro Foundation, Students Rebuild, the Thorne Cox Family Foundation, and Barbara Tober in honor of Diane Love.
This project is supported by funding provided by the Alabama Arts Alliance Support the Arts Tag Committee, the Alabama Humanities Alliance, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the City of Birmingham, Cindy and Frank Franklin and The Kelly Hotel.
The full PRESS KIT for Little Amal and her walk across the U.S. – with IMAGES, VIDEOS, and a Q&A about the project – can be found HERE.