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The Sultan's Elephant takes to the streets

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOR FOUR days – from May 4 – 7, 2006 – The Sultan’s Elephant will take to the streets of London, in what will be the largest piece of street theatre ever seen in the capital.

In a fairytale that will enchant children and adults alike, a sultan is tormented by visions of a little girl travelling through time.

Unable to sleep but believing he can find the girl in the land of dreams, he commissions an unknown engineer living in 1900, to construct a time-travelling, mechanical elephant. A few months later, the sultan and his court set off in search of her….

Not surprisingly, the centre-piece of the show is a giant wooden elephant – an elephant 40 feet high and weighing a staggering 42 tonnes. There will also be larger-than-life puppets and what has been described as ‘quirky theatre’.

The Sultan’s Elephant is the work of French theatre company Royal de Luxe, which was founded in 1979 by director Jean Luc Courcoult.

Since then, it has presented large-scale street theatre all over the world, including Paris (during France’s bicentenary celebrations), Africa and China.

The show, which is free, will take place in the streets and public spaces of Westminster, in the area around Horse Guards Parade in St James’s Park, St James’s, Piccadilly, Haymarket and Trafalgar Square.

For further information visit the official website.