• A specially curated evening at the Royal Opera House on Saturday 23 October, attended by refugee groups from across London as part of Good Chance Theatre’s The Walk 
    • Performances by The Royal BalletThe Royal OperaCitizens of the World ChoirPhosphoros Theatre and London-based Syrian oud player Rihab Azar — bringing together artists with lived experience of displacement 
    • Coverage across Royal Opera House social channels 
    • For more information, visit www.walkwithamal.org 

The Royal Opera House is delighted to be welcoming Little Amal as part of Good Chance Theatre’s The Walk — offering her a bed for the night on Saturday 23 October. The 3.5 metre-tall puppet, created by the acclaimed Handspring Puppet Company, will spend the eve of her tenth birthday in the stunning Paul Hamlyn Hall, being sung and danced to sleep by artists from across the capital. 

The event, attended by refugee groups from across London, is one of over 100 making up The Walk – a visionary travelling festival, produced by Good Chance Theatre, that brings together celebrated artists, major cultural institutions, community groups and humanitarian organisations in an act of solidarity with the displaced, and in defiance of the borders that endanger their lives. The cane and carbon-fibre puppet is travelling 8,000 km – from the borders of Syria to the UK – in search of her mother, representing the urgent needs of young refugees.  

From the 22 – 25 October, Little Amal will make her way across London, taking part in events at, among others, The National TheatreShakespeare’s GlobeSomerset House, and the V&A. Beginning at 11.15 pm on Saturday 23 October, the Royal Opera House’s programme — A Bed for the Night — will bring together world-class artists from both resident companies, alongside several collaborators from across the capital. Many of the performers have experienced forced displacement themselves.   

The evening will begin in the Covent Garden Piazza, where Royal Ballet Principal dancers Cesar Corrales and Francesca Hayward, coming straight from that night’s Romeo and Juliet curtain call, will welcome Little Amal into the building.  In the Paul Hamlyn Hall, London-based Syrian oud player Rihab Azar will perform reflections on lullabies and tunes she heard as a child growing up in Syria, followed by a short presentation of the Royal Opera House’s staff-made quilt, sewn together by Thurrock textile group Kite Spirit.  

Later performances include Valentino Zucchetti’s specially choreographed duet to Rachmaninoff’s ‘Vocalise, P. 34, No. 14’ (Nitin Sawhney Version) — danced by Royal Ballet Soloist Joseph Sissens and First Artist of The Royal Ballet Lukas B. Brændsrød — alongside two commissioned narratives by Phosphoros Theatre: a theatre company and charity that makes socially engaged performance with, for, and by refugees and asylum seekers. Written by Kate Duffy-Syedi, directed by Esther Dix, and with music by Goitom Fesshaye, the narratives will be performed by Tewodros Aregawe and Syed Haleem NajibiCitizens of the World Choir — a choir for displaced people and their allies, that celebrates the artistry, heritage and humanity of people seeking sanctuary — will also make an appearance, joining members of the Royal Opera Chorus to sing a specially commissioned piece by composer Ayanna Witter-Johnson, conducted by Choir co-founder and Musical Director Becky Dell

Following a separate, second, performance by members of The Royal Opera Chorus, the night will end with both a short programme of lullabies, sung by The Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists April Kojejo-Audiger and Michael Sikich, and a filmed performance of ‘As We Close Our Sleepy Eyes’ from Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, sung by three of our Thurrock Trailblazer schools: Deneholm Primary School, Warren Primary School and Tilbury Pioneer Academy.  

The event will be attended by Notre Dame Refugee CentreBreaking Barriers and UN Refugee Agency among others, but will also be covered on ROH social channels.   

Jillian BarkerDirector of Learning and Participation at the Royal Opera House, said: 

‘We are delighted to be welcoming Little Amal to our home, offering her a warm bed under the iconic glass and steel ceiling of the Paul Hamlyn Hall. As London falls still, our singers and dancers will pay tribute both to her journey and to those of the many displaced children across the world — drawing attention to one of the defining issues of our times, and expressing solidarity with the artists and communities that have taken part in The Walk.’ 

David Lanproducer of The Walk, said: 
‘The moment I asked Alex Beard if the Opera House would welcome Little Amal, he began to imagine the event we are extremely happy for her to take part in.  Alex has been one of The Walk’s most eloquent London champions. By the time she arrives in Covent Garden, Amal will have visited some of the great theatres of Europe – in Rome, Paris, Brussels and many other cities – but ROH is the first to offer her warmth and shelter along with dance and music at the highest level.  On her behalf, thank you Alex and all at the ROH.’ 

The Walk is produced by Stephen DaldryDavid Lan, Tracey Seaward and Naomi Webb for Good Chance Theatre, in association with Handspring Puppet Company. The artistic director is Amir Nizar Zuabi.