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7 May 2006

The Sultan's Elephant, London

The Sultan's Elephant visited London in May 2006. Giant puppets of an elephant and a girl took to the streets, sightseeing through central London as part of a story played out over four days. The elephant was not just a performer - it was also a stage. As well as the people controlling it, there were actors walking around its platforms. At one point the Sultan's harem took a bath on the top as the elephant went around Piccadilly. You can see a photo of the Sultan in conference on the side of the elephant below.

The girl puppet was controlled partly by people in front (dressed in red) who would run ahead and yank on a rope with their body weight. The elephant had controllers sitting on it at various points (at least eight), and a lady in front with a remote control.

What these pictures can't capture is how gracefully the puppets moved. The girl walked naturally, as did the elephant. Every detail had been taken care of - the elephant's eyes, ears and trunk all moved realistically. It moved like a real elephant.

Elephant on the march
Stampede!
Elephant side-on
Passing St James's Street
The Sultan!
Elephant enters Piccadilly
Girl puppet
Girl Puppet 2
Girl Puppet 3
Lifting the hay truck
Look me in the eyes
The girl in Trafalgar Square

Credits

All photos ©2006 Sean McManus. Unauthorised reproduction and linking directly to image files prohibited. Contact me to discuss licensing. Interface is based on Lightbox JS, created by Lokesh Dhakar.

Credits

© Sean McManus. All rights reserved.

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