Waking with Giants
ZZZzzzzzzzz Giant snores reverberated around Kings Dock before two huge marionnetes were brought to life by the Lilluputian crew of Royal de Luxe, a French street theatre company here to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
Dated 13th April 1912, a letter by 10 year old May McMurray from Liverpool was written to her father, William, on the ill-fated cruise liner. A century after it was posted it became the inspiration for the UK’s largest street theatre event held over 3 days in the city of Liverpool.
May’s letter, now in Liverpool’s Maritime Museum, reads: “Dear Father, It seems ages since I last seen you. I wish we where in Southampton with you, it is very lonely without you.”
William would never see the letter; it reached White Star’s offices after the Titanic had embarked, and was returned to sender. He died when the ship sank, despite having had the opportunity to board a lifeboat.
Alan McMurray, William’s grandson, said: “An officer sent him back to look for water and biscuits and he never returned. They couldn’t wait any longer and the officer said to a gentleman standing alongside the lifeboat ‘You get in the lifeboat’. The lifeboat was picked up by the Carpathia and they all ended up in Newfoundland where the gentleman who got into the lifeboat in place of my grandfather asked about him. He eventually came back from New York to Liverpool and went straight to the White Star office. He checked on William’s details and found out his address and went there. He met my grandmother and told her the tale of what had happened on board the ship.”
May’s letter ends with a goodbye message from William’s three children; “Love from all dada hoping to see you soon with love from Ivy and May and Ernie xxxxxxxxxx kisses for dada x”
Walking with Giants
Faces pressed against the windows of tall buildings came eye-to-eye with giants as the Uncle and ‘Little Girl’ took to the streets. Sea Odyssey tells the story of a young girl giant whose father, a 30 foot giant, stowed away on the Titanic and died when it sank. His brother, the second giant puppet, took a century to learn to dive and having found the wreck of the Titanic returned to Liverpool to meet his niece and distribute letters from the ship around the city.
This spectacular 3 day event is not the first for Liverpool. Another giant has roamed the streets…
In 2008, as part of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture celebrations, a 50ft mechanical spider known as La Princesse went walkabout! Water cannons shot jets of spray over unsuspecting crowds and a myriad of special effects brought flames and snow to the occasion.
London has also witnessed street theatre on a giant stage. Back in 2006, the Little Girl made an appearance accompanying a 50-ton elephant. Towering over famous landmarks – and shooting water from it’s trunk – the Sultan’s Elephant was an extraordinary and magical production.
Visit Itchy Feet Photography for more pictures of Sea Odyssey – Giant Spectacular and discover videos of the event on YouTube.