Sultan’s Elephant Brings Giant Street Theatre to UKDate: 3 May 2006
The largest piece of street theatre ever seen in London hits town tomorrow (4 May 2006), as French company Royal de Luxe brings The Sultan's Elephant – featuring a giant wooden elephant as tall as a three-storey house - to the capital for four days only.
Once upon a time, there lived a sultan who was tormented in his dreams by visions of a little girl who was travelling through time. He could no longer sleep, and believing that he would find the girl in the land of dreams, he commissioned an unknown engineer living in 1900 to construct a time-travelling, mechanical elephant. A few months later, the sultan set off with his court in search of her…
The fairytale for children and adults will travel through the streets of London on an epic journey. It’s produced by Artichoke with co-producer LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre, which is organising welcoming events including a picnic for school children) and funded by Arts Council England, the London Development Agency and the Mayor of London.
Helen Marriage, who founded production company Artichoke, said: “Royal de Luxe’s work is amongst the very best of a long tradition of European street theatre. By inviting the company here to London with this magical work, we wanted to reassert the importance of monumental live performance in the life of a city’s culture, bringing together visitors and residents alike in a moment of shared delight.”
Since it was founded in 1979 by director Jean Luc Courcoult, Royal de Luxe has travelled all over the world presenting large-scale street theatre. The company performed on Paris’ Champs Elysees during France’s bicentenary celebrations and spent a year in Africa as well as six months in China.
Sarah Weir, chief executive of Arts Council England, commented: “We are delighted to be the main public funder of this simply extraordinary international event. It’s beautiful, it’s breathtaking and it’s free.”
- by Caroline Ansdell