Liverpool 'Pals army' to be recruited for giant puppet show

Volunteers for the Liverpool Pals Image copyright other
Image caption So many volunteered for the Liverpool Pals that four battalions were formed

The company behind a giant puppet event in Liverpool marking 100 years since World War One have started to "recruit an army" of locals for the show.

Memories of August 1914, which runs from 23 to 27 July, will see giant marionettes perform around the city.

The 120 roles, which Royal De Luxe said were open to "physically fit" adults, will be in a part of the show dedicated to the WW1 Liverpool Pals battalions.

Founder Jean Luc Courcoult said it would be an "emotional highlight".

The French company, who specialise in street theatre using puppets, have so far released few details of the show.

They announced earlier in April that the performance would feature Newsham Park and Clarence Dock. A full route will be announced at a later date.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Royal de Luxe brought the spectacular Sea Odyssey to Liverpool in 2012

Mr Courcoult said the Pals had been included because it was "hugely important that our giants tell a story which resonates with the city they are exploring".

"Liverpool has such a rich history and the Pals is an incredible and inspirational part of that," he said.

'Overwhelming' response

Tony Wainwright, the Liverpool Pals Memorial Fund secretary, said the battalions' story was "a remarkable one".

"Following Lord Derby's promise that Liverpool would provide one battalion of men from the business community of Liverpool, the response was overwhelming.

"Between August and November 1914, four battalions were formed and there were enough volunteers to form two reserve battalions.

"Sadly, over 2800 men fell in action and never saw the peace for which they gave their lives."

Image copyright other
Image caption The Royal de Luxe recruitment poster echoes the ones used to recruit the Pals

Royal de Luxe were responsible for the spectacular Sea Odyssey, which commemorated the Titanic disaster in 2012 and saw three giant puppets roam the city.

Liverpool City Council's Alicia Smith said the roles were the first time Royal de Luxe had used people outside its company.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for members of the public to be part of the event," she said.

She added that the Pals were "a huge part of Liverpool's history and it would have been impossible for us to re-tell a story about the outbreak of the Great War without including them".

Royal de Luxe said applications for the roles needed to be in by 6 May and that all applicants had to be over 18, "physically fit", available for rehearsals in June and July and able to supply their own period costume.

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