Little Amal Walks Down Berry

Amal receives a lei from Madre Tierra Photo credit: Lori Ann Doyon

Little Amal, in actuality a twelve-foot puppet of a 10-year-old girl refugee, has travelled over 9,000 km across twelve countries.  She represents all children fleeing war, violence, and persecution; her message is, “Don’t forget about us.”

Amal interacting with the crowd. Photo credit: Lori Ann Doyon

From September 14 to October 2, Little Amal will be making appearances throughout NYC, and will appear in each borough.  On the night of September 23, Little Amal walked down Berry Street from North 5th Street to North 1st Street.  She was met by El Puente’s Madre Tierra puppet. 

The Handspring Puppet Company is behind the design and construction of Little Amal.  They are known for their work on international hit play War Horse. She is designed to be durable in order to travel contrasting terrains and long distances.  Her arrival to Berry Street was delayed because she was stuck in traffic, but she wasn’t on foot. Four puppeteers bring Little Amal to life: one on each arm, one supporting her back and one inside walking on stilts. This fourth puppeteer also controls ‘the harp’, a complex tapestry of strings that animate Little Amal’s face, head and eyes.

Amal addresses a clown Photo credit: Lori Ann Doyon

The crowd moves with her on her walks and she will extend a hand to some or look in windows for a place to sleep.  On the Berry walk along with the crowd she was accompanied by clowns, jugglers, unicyclists, and dancers.  When she arrived on North 1st Street El Puente greeted her with live music, which she danced to for a bit.  Once Amal was near their Madre Tierra puppet the music stopped and the crowd quieted down to hear Madre Tierra’s words to Amal, “May blessings fall at your feet like ripe fruit, and may the moments with your loved ones be as sweet. The blessing of Madre Tierra has always been yours.”  The music resumed and Madre Tierra embraced Amal before she made her way to STREB for a ticketed performance.

To see the schedule or for more information:

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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