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Five Metre-Tall Puppet Aura Comes To Crawley

Aura's Odyssey will start at Gatwick Airport on Thursday 11th August.

Five Metre-Tall Puppet Aura Comes To Crawley

The identity of the five-metre tall puppet coming to Crawley this Summer has been announced: Aura is a survivor from an updated version of Troy, inspired by Homer's Odyssey being told on the Yorkshire coast, and will travel through Crawley as part of her Odyssey before she moves on to her next destination.

Aura's Odyssey will start at Gatwick Airport on Thursday 11th August where she bears witness to those leaving and those arriving, before travelling on an open-top bus around neighbourhoods seeking welcome on Friday 12th. She'll be free to roam the town centre on Saturday coming to rest in County Mall Shopping Centre, then spends Sunday in Tilgate Park, where local residents will wish her well on the next stage of her journey. A full programme of events to accompany her journey in Crawley will be announced.

In the build up to her arrival, a series of creative projects are on offer to Crawley residents to develop welcome artworks for Aura when she visits. On 11th June in the town centre, immersive digital company BRIGHTBLACK led by Myra Appanah and Simon Wilkinson and will be hosting workshops in June for two different age groups - 8-15 years and 16+ years - to explore how to work with real and digital materials and software to create digital art, video games and immersive stories to welcome Aura to Crawley. Dance and visual artists Anna Des Clayes and Lorraine Yu will be hosting creative workshops, starting with a taster session, that explore experiences of Crawley through dance, movement and sketching. The taster workshops are open to all and a series of bespoke workshops for people representing Crawley's diverse population will also be available.

Finally, Crawley residents will be offered a piece of calico to create designs inspired by where they live; these 30cm squares will then be stitched together to create a blanket to offer Aura warmth on her arrival.

Aura's journey will take in Gatwick Airport, Crawley town centre including County Mall and Tilgate Park. At each point on her journey local people are invited to share songs, music, poems and other welcome artworks to celebrate what the town means to its residents.

Animated Objects Theatre Company is based in Scarborough, and specialises in large-scale events, outdoor theatre and giant artworks. They created and presented Aura with the Yorkshire Coast Business Improvement District earlier this year where she was seen by thousands of people. Speaking of the Yorkshire Coast BID's involvement in the project, Kerry Carruthers, Chief Executive said, "The scale of this project and the public involvement led by Animated Objects, is what brings this to life. This event series would not have been possible without the many hundreds of residents, businesses and community organisations taking this to their hearts. It makes Homer's Odyssey feel as if it always had the Yorkshire Coast in mind. Seeing Aura in person is truly magic, and I'm so glad we're being able to showcase this amazing project developed on the Yorkshire Coast far and wide."

Her tour of the town is part of Enliven: You're Welcome, a four month programme of free events and workshops this summer celebrating Crawley New Town's 75th anniversary. Funded by Crawley Town Centre BID, Arts Council England and Crawley Borough Council and produced by Creative Crawley, the season celebrates the diversity and welcoming attitude of Crawley and is part of the year-long Enliven programme.

Enliven: You're Welcome started with Without Walls Crawley (14 May),and Give It A Go free workshops will continue in the town centre with slapstick (28 May) sculpting (25 June) and creating a cartoon comic hero (30 July).

Creative Crawley is a new arts organisation whose trustees represent a range of local stakeholders who aim to place creativity at the heart of Crawley and support, develop and produce high quality arts and culture in the town.

Councillor Chris Mullins, Cabinet member for Wellbeing at Crawley Borough Council, said: "Aura's arrival in August will truly be a sight to behold and I can't wait. I'd encourage people to put the date in the diary now and to get involved in the creative workshops on 11 & 12 June to develop welcome artworks for Aura."

Creative Director of Creative Crawley Louise Blackwell said, 'Aura is a truly awe-inspiring artwork and we are so lucky to be able to invite her into the town to show her what a fantastic place Crawley is.'

Crawley Town Centre BID is the dedicated Business Improvement District for Crawley town centre working with and for the businesses collaborating to deliver a thriving town centre where people want to be.

The Enliven programme is a year round series of artworks, performances, workshops and creative experiences which aims to bring Crawley town centre to life through arts and culture. Funded by Crawley Town Centre BID and produced by Creative Crawley.

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