The Sea Odyssey Giant Spectacular

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why Liverpool ticks all the boxes

The Liver BuildingThe fact that Liverpool has had the foresight to stage such a complex display of public art/street theatre, further highlights to me that it can and should continue to compete with the best of them. With more and more tourist destinations pushing the boundaries to attract visitors, it is clear that Liverpool has grabbed a well earned place in that list. It's no wonder Liverpool was awarded Capital of Culture in 2008. Despite years of neglect, Liverpool has pulled its socks up and the city has benefited from well thought out regeneration attempts, particularly in the city centre and around the Albert Dock. The emphasis on green, empty spaces is something the likes of Manchester should take note of, where in place of gardens and parks more and more blocks of flats continue to be built and sadly lie empty.
Giant Little Girl, Diver Uncle & Pet Dog

The most recent feather in Liverpool's cap is the Sea Odyssey Giant Spectacular. A three day event that took place between April 20-22nd in the city centre and North Liverpool, an area that has suffered economically for years. Having read and heard a lot about this 'Little Girl Giant', I was intrigued and decided to head over to Liverpool on the Sunday for the culmination of the event. I was astounded at the sheer number of people who had turned out to support the event, there were huge crowds and although difficult to find a good viewing spot for fear of squashing little children, I love that the event brought the community together to share in such a memorable occasion. I found a good spot on the Pier Head and waited for the three marionettes, a 50ft diver, 30ft 'little' girl and a 9ft dog, called Xolo, to float past on the Mersey.
Little girl emerges from the smoke
The Sea Odyssey was inspired by a letter a young girl posted to her father in 1912 when he was a steward on the Titanic. Sadly, the letter was never delivered. A French street theatre company, Royal De Luxe, created the remarkable story, rather like a fairytale, of a giant who died on the Titanic, his orphaned little girl giant, the diver uncle and a giant dog. The whole concept is such a unique and unusual way for Liverpool to mark its links with the Titanic, 100 years after the ship sank to the depths of the Atlantic, taking with her those 1,512 passengers who sadly perished. The Sea Odyssey is a fitting tribute and a inspiring way for children as well as those who don't know much about the Titanic, to develop an understanding of what happened on 14th April 1912 and the legacy she has left behind.

Aside from the cultural impact the Giants will have on Liverpool, the event, which cost £1.5m, has boosted the local economy by at least £12m according to Liverpool City Council. Over 500,000 people visited the city to see the little girl, her pet dog and diver uncle wander through the streets of Liverpool with a wonderful backdrop of some of Liverpool's most beautiful buildings. I wonder what Liverpool will think of next?
I will leave you with the story of the Giants:

The Sea of Liverpool has swallowed up so many sailors, travellers and adventurers that you would think it was a cannibal.

Icebergs are boat hunters and Liverpudlians are huge children with eyes full of hope and rebellion.

For the unsinkable Titanic, her first voyage was also to be her last.

But let's move right away to the story of one stowaway: loaded on board during the night, unnoticed - a thirty foot tall Giant capable of travelling through time, on his way to another continent to meet his daughter, the Little Giant.

Giants don't grow old, don't grow up, they just stay the age they are for eternity - that is, if they don't die. Disaster struck in the Atlantic Ocean; everyone knows the details of the accident. The ocean liner was the pride of Liverpool, and many different Liverpudlian tradesmen were recruited, mainly to maintain the ship and to look after the passengers.

But let's return to our gigantic passenger trapped in one of the holds. He feels the full force of the iceberg's blade. The sea rushes into the ship so fiercely that he is unable to move.

He is a prisoner and plummets 12,000 feet with the Titanic. We believe that, knowing he would soon die, he took his last underwater lift ride before coming to rest in a cloud of dust on the ocean bed.

Above, petrified with fear, survivors hoped for miracles - some were rescued, that too is known.

When the Little Giant heard the news, she sought out her uncle, the Great Giant's brother. While listening to her, the uncle made a decision that was to take him a century to carry out.

First, he would make himself a diving suit. Then he would scour the ocean floor for the shipwreck. After that, he would bury his brother in the deep-sea bed. Most importantly, he would come back with the letter the Great Giant had written to the Little Giant Girl. This is why he walked for many long years across the ocean floor, pulling the Titanic's mail trunk to bring back the post to Liverpool.

Such tragedies do not affect the Little Giant's morale who bravely decided to come to the reunion. While reading magazines before leaving, she discovered that there are another two famed legends in Liverpool - The Beatles music, and the sheer madness for football of the rebel City.

Before setting up her first camp in Stanley Park, between the two football stadiums north of the city, she decides she will go on a cruise through the town on a road-sailing boat. A few hours before her arrival, as if by magic, a geyser shoots up from the ground in the city centre, to herald her arrival."
Story written by Jean-Luc Courcoult, Author, Artistic Director and Founder, Royal De Luxe.

For more information visit: Giant Spectacular and don't miss Liverpool Museum's new exhibition, 'Titanic and Liverpool: the Untold Story'.