Iron man comes to the Norfolk and Norwich Festival

Towering above Millennium Plain a giant puppet made of wheelchair components appeared in Norwich.

Passers-by watched as The Iron Man, the height of a double decker bus, took shape before London-based deaf and disabled ensemble Graeae take to the pavement to perform a the premier of an adaptation of the Ted Hughes story today.

The free Norfolk and Norwich Festival event will see hundreds of children and adults converge on the steps outside The Forum.

The Iron Man is operated by a wheelchair user and it is expected to be a spectacular puppetry experience from ground level rising up to the sky.

The show takes place in and around the audience and the story will be told with words, sign language and audio descriptive narrative.

Artistic director Jenny Sealey said they had been working on the production for three weeks. After their first performances in Norwich they are set to tour The Iron Man at festivals this summer including in Brighton, Greenwich and Bristol.

She said it was the first time that she had used puppets in this way. 'It has been a very steep learning curve,' she said.

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She said the show appealed to all ages. 'Everyone loves a good story whether they are five or older,' she added.

Graeae's signature characteristic is integrating sign language and audio description into the show. It aims to champion accessibility and provides a platform for new generations of artists.

Ms Sealey said: 'As a deaf director, sign language is in all of my work. For some people it will be the first time they have seen sign language.'

The show lasted around 30 minutes.NNF11 runs until Saturday

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