On the French Fringe - 3. Street Theatre and a Giant Elephant
Kirsty Lang and Lucy Ash go to Nantes, to find out how a street theatre company helped transform this depressed former industrial city into a beacon of contemporary French culture.
When the Sultan's Elephant made its way through central London in 2006, almost 1 million people turned out to see it, making it the most successful piece of street theatre ever performed in the UK. The giant French puppets have more recently appeared in Liverpool to mark the centenary of the Titanic's launch and sinking. But where did these towering animatronic creatures come from and who were the people pulling the strings?
Lucy and Kirsty go to Nantes, to find out how the street theatre company Royal de Luxe helped to transform this depressed former industrial city into a beacon of contemporary French culture. while retaining some of the traditional skills formerly used in shipbuilding. They meet its eccentric founder, Jean-Luc Courcoult , and see his latest show. They discover why the city's former mayor, Jean Marc Ayrault, now the Prime Minister, believes that investing in culture is key to promoting economic growth.