A Day at the Beach, by Emilienne Malfatto
Little Amal is a 3.5m high puppet who has been walking nearly 9000 kilometres across Europe this summer in recognition of the journey made by thousands of child refugees every year in search of family members, safety and a new home. To mark this extraordinary project, five award-winning European writers have written short stories inspired by Amal’s walk. Each one has responded imaginatively to the puppet’s journey through their own country, reflecting the hopes and fears of both Amal herself and the people she encounters on her way.
As she strides through the stories and across Europe, Amal takes on many guises. She’s a refugee child from a camp on the Turkish Syrian border, who sets off in search of her mother, accompanied by an alter-ego puppet guide; she’s befriended by a seagull in Greece; she strikes fear into the heart of a small, lonely boy in Italy; becomes the target for a kidnapping in Belgium…
The Walk has been created by Good Chance Theatre, who started the theatre in the Calais Jungle and Handspring Puppet company, who created the puppets for War Horse. Little Amal began her walk in Turkey at the end of July and, helped by a team of puppeteers, performers, local people and arts organisations, she’ll walk nearly 9000km across Europe, finishing in Manchester in November. She arrives in the UK, at Folkestone, on 19 October.
A Day at the Beach by Emilienne Malfatto takes place after the long journey through Europe. A young Syrian girl waits, exhausted, on the beach at Calais for the boat that she hopes will take her across the water to safety. Amal has nothing left to her except her memories of home, when she had parents, a family, a roof over her head, food on her plate and the ordinary worries of a small girl.
Emilienne Malfatto is a photojournalist, working between Iraq, France and Latin America. She won this year’s Prix Goncourt first novel prize for her novel ‘Que sur toi se lamente le Tigre’.
Producers: Sara Davies with Tobias Withers
A Cast Iron Radio Production