Giant marks WWI centenary

By | Category: Travel news
giant grandmother sleeping

a “sleeping” giant grandmother

This weekend the giants take over Liverpool. Marching in procession around the city centre, they will embark on a journey of memories, history and reunion to commemorate the start of the First World War. It’s a free event that anyone can go to, and runs throughout the day from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th July.

The giants are larger-than-life puppets made by Nantes-based theatre company Royal de Luxe, and it’s not the first time they have graced our shores. In 2012 they arrived into Liverpool docks to celebrate the Titanic centenary, performing a show titled ‘Sea Odyssey’. These sorts of shows are special, because they are not simply something that you watch, but one that you take part in. Due to the crowds, and the fact that each day the events run for hours, it is impossible that a single attendee can experience the entire repertoire of stories. We must play a part as the Lilliputian folk the giants meet along the way.

So why Liverpool? Well, in the words of Councillor Wendy Simon, Cabinet member for Culture and Tourism, the first Pals battalion was formed by Lord Derby in St George’s Hall exactly one hundred years ago – this extraordinary grouping together of men for the war effort led to Lord Kitchener starting the nationwide Pals campaign – and that’s why the Grandmother Giant’s story starts from within this very hall.

This year, Liverpool is expecting up to one million attendees including delegates from overseas. ‘Sea Odyssey’ raked in an amazing £32 million for the UK economy and, after its huge success, more people are aware of this year’s event. Since the renovation of St George’s Hall in 2007, a lot of effort has been put into rejuvenating Liverpool’s cultural events, and this event promises to be truly spectacular for all people – children and adults alike.

the grandmother and Cllr Sloman

Wendy Simon and the grandmother

This time creator Jean-Luc Courcoult has approached it from a physics point of view: the giants exist in the space before the Big Bang, and in order to traverse our world, they have to break through the Planck Wall at the start of the universe. On Friday this will be personified by the Little Girl Giant emerging from a veil across the Queensway Tunnel. The Grandmother Giant, meanwhile, is gathering her strength from her long journey so she sleeps in St George’s Hall. On Friday she will awaken and set off in search of the Little Girl, telling stories – real memories of the war – to the people as she passes by.

This is the first time that any of Royal de Luxe’s giants have a speaking role, so it’s particularly special in terms of the mechanics involved.

Until Friday, however, you can go and visit the Grandmother Giant in St George’s Hall, and meet some of the organisers and volunteers who will be re-enacting some scenes from the war effort.


For more information, click here.

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