Wooly mammoth inspires prehistoric puppetry fun at Great Yarmouth Arts Festival

The West Runton elephant lumbers his way across the beach. Picture: PAUL DAMEN

The West Runton elephant lumbers his way across the beach. Picture: PAUL DAMEN - Credit: Archant

Woolly rhinos, bears and wolves will once again roam the streets of Great Yarmouth as part of a mammoth scale artistic adventure.

Yarmouth-based Creative Collisions has been awarded £7,380 to make a series of giant puppets re-creating the animals of ancient Britain.

The money from the Great Yarmouth Cultural Education Partnership will enable more than 30 young people from local high schools and colleges to work with professional puppet makers to create the six towering structures and an original piece of puppet theatre.

Inspired by the giant West Runton elephant puppet that walked the sands last summer the puppets will take part in a procession lead by the Norfolk mammoth at Great Yarmouth Arts festival in June.

Young people will work with Tinhouse Arts to create creatures from the pleistocene epoch during which our species evolved such as hyenas, giant deer, woolly rhinoceros, wolves, bears and sabre tooth cats.

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After the procession they will feature in a satellite exhibition during the festival at Gallery 133 on King Street.

A second group of young people will work with Norwich Puppet Theatre to create a grand scale shadow puppet show inspired by the imagined life of humans that would have lived at the same time as the elephant.

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This show will be designed for younger children and will be performed at St George's Theatre after the festival parade.

Both projects have been organised by Creative Collisions, which supports young people to take a leading role in art. The group is led by the Time and Tide Museum and is supported by six local colleges and high schools.

Tricia Hall who is chair of Creative Collisions and youth engagement officer at the Time and Tide said: 'We are extremely grateful and excited to be able to offer this opportunity to young people. They will have the chance to create something that would normally only be produced by professional artists.

'The scale and ambition of the project is much bigger than would normally be on offer and schools have really responded to the idea and supported their students to take part. The project brings arts and heritage together in a really fun and exciting way. Young people will develop their creative skills whilst learning about the ancient history of our region to share with the wider community through the festival.'

The project will also help to help promote the major touring exhibition Humans in Ancient Britain at Time and Tide from June to October which charts the early history of human settlement in the UK since its origins over one million years ago. The exhibition comes direct from the Museum of Natural History in London,

The 10-day festival kicks off on Friday, June 5 with the procession taking place the following day with marching bands and acrobats.

Giant puppet workshops will happen every Thursday and Friday throughout March at The Drill Hall, York Road, from 9.30am to 2.30pm.

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