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Four Day Festival Line-up For AURA'S ODYSSEY In Crawley Announced

The event runs 11 – 14 August.

Four Day Festival Line-up For AURA'S ODYSSEY In Crawley Announced

Creative Crawley's summer programme Enliven: You're Welcome celebrating Crawley New Town's 75th anniversary finishes with the arrival of Aura, a five-metre tall puppet.

· Aura's Odyssey will start at Gatwick Airport

· She will be presented with local art, including a giant blanket, a comic book and printed art created from virtual worlds that speak of home and journeys using video games engines

· Live bands including Bloco Do Sol and music from local DJs Tons of Sound will greet her along with local dancers

· Specially commissioned poetry to be read by 17-year-old Iffat Rahman

Brought to life by Animated Objects Theatre Company, five-metre tall puppet Aura is a survivor from an updated version of Troy, inspired by Homer's Odyssey, 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, before she travels on an open-top bus around neighbourhoods. The packed weekend of events that follows will include being greeted by live music, singing, dancing, poetry and DJing, and presented with artworks.

Local businesses are getting involved as volunteer Guardians of Aura, including a team from Metrobank, who will walk alongside her as she journeys. In addition, Crawley residents of all ages have been busy creating art for her arrival, and an itinerary for her visit has been announced:

On Thursday 11th August, Aura arrives at Gatwick Airport where she bears witness to those leaving and those arriving

On Friday 12th August from 11am - 3pm, Aura will travel on an open-top-bus, stopping to greet residents at Bewbush West Playing Field and Maidenbower Park, and visiting workers in Manor Royal Business Improvement District amongst other stops along the way.

On Saturday 13th August from 11am - 4pm, Aura's journey around the town centre will begin with a live band outside the Brewery Shades, then she'll walk up the High Street and be greeted by some local dancers and will be presented with the first artwork by The Comic Shop: a giant comic book by which depicts future heroes of Crawley drawn in one of Creative Crawley's Give it a Go workshops with artist Daniel Locke. Samba band Bloco Do Sol will lead Aura on a procession down The Broadway and when she arrives in Queens Square she will be greeted by local DJs Tons of Sound, specially commissioned poetry by local 17-year-old Iffat Rahman, and dances curated by Dance Hub UK from local dance schools.

She'll make her way to Memorial Gardens for lunch where local bands presented by Crawley Festival will play to her from the bandstand. People are invited to bring a picnic to celebrate international food that they love. There will be a range of activities in the gardens including 'belonging' workshops by Crawley Museum that explore objects that represent Crawley, and stories for children with Crawley Library, which are a chance to explore the science and tech side of Aura the puppet.

After lunch Aura will wander back into Queens Square, travelling up the Martlets into County Mall and get ready for bed, getting into her hammock where she will be sung 'Wish - The Lullaby for Crawley' written by local mothers and theatre company Murmuration Arts before she goes to sleep. She will be presented with a giant blanket, made up of 30cm squares which show designs that are inspired by the town. Community groups contributing include DiverseCrawley, Outreach3Way, WordFest Crawley and local schools

On Sunday 14th August from 11am - 3pm, Aura will join people in Tilgate Park for a live music. On stage, Audio Active presents Kustom Vibes: live performances by local emerging artists in partnership with Crawley Community Youth Service. She will be gifted with postcards, letters and photos taken from virtual worlds that speak of home and journeys, created using video game engines by Crawley participants in collaboration with BRiGHTBLACK.

At the end of the four days, Aura will bid Crawley farewell before she leaves to embark upon the next part of her epic journey.

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.

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.

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."

Councillor Chris Mullins, Cabinet member for Wellbeing at Crawley Borough Council, said: "I'm really looking forward to Aura's arrival in August; it will be the first time we've ever seen anything like this in Crawley. Whether you see her on the open-top bus tour, in the town centre or in Tilgate Park - or all three! - I'm sure it'll be something you'll never forget."

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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