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The Hatchling- a symbol of hope

On Sunday 29 August, the people of Plymouth were joined by visitors from across the country
to watch The Hatchling take flight from the coast and soar across the sea in a powerful symbol
of hope. In a world first, the giant dragon puppet transformed into a kite, flew into the air and
across Plymouth Sound, with an audience of tens of thousands on the Hoe and along the coast
watching in awe.

The Hatchling, produced by Trigger with the support of Arts Council England and Plymouth City
Council, unfolded from 28-29 August, having been postponed following the tragic shootings in
Plymouth earlier this month. This unique theatrical event was a poignant reminder of the power
of community, with over 250 local people from groups across the city joining the cast of the
performance.

Audiences witnessed the dragon hatch from an egg in the city centre on Saturday, with the
public accompanying her as she explored her surroundings. In the evening, crowds gathered to
see the dragon nest and fall asleep to a soothing lullaby sung by acapella group The Lost
Sound. The song was a moving moment of reflection for the city, accompanied by an
atmospheric lantern parade.

On Sunday, storytellers, buskers and Plymouth’s own Roller Derby, lined the path towards the
dragon’s final location. On route, the dragon, which is taller than a double decker bus, met the
city’s other giant, monumental sculpture The Messenger outside Theatre Royal Plymouth. Mary
Anne from the theatre commented: “The Hatchling has really brought the spirit back to
Plymouth”.

As The Hatchling approached the shoreline, a second egg revealed a beautiful pearl in homage
to traditional dragon folklore, which danced in the air tempting her to fly. Spectators on the Hoe
witnessed the dragon make a miraculous transformation, turning into a kite with a 20m
wingspan and flying across the water of Plymouth Sound in pursuit of the pearl, accompanied
by original choral music by Ruth Chan.

Nick Kelly, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “It was an amazing sight to watch tens of
thousands of people on Plymouth Hoe witness The Hatchling transform in front of their eyes to
rise and fly out across Plymouth Sound in pursuit of the pearl. The visual and audio effects
made this a memorable sight that captivated the audience watching a world premiere right
here in Plymouth. The Hoe Waterfront is such a magnificent amphitheatre and this spectacular
and brilliant creation was perfect to lift our city. Congratulations to all of those involved in
creating this magnificent piece of artistry. Never before have we seen a dragon rise and fly into
the dark skies over Plymouth. Simply awe inspiring!”

Charles Hackett, Chief Executive of Mayflower 400, said: “The Hatchling made for a beautiful
and thrilling weekend in Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City. The project is a testament to the
amazing creativity in Plymouth and the Southwest.”

Becca Gill, Engagement Producer at Trigger, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with over
250 people from across 11 community groups in Plymouth – from Elder Tree’s craft and tai chi
groups to the incredible cch Plymouth Roller Derby. A real highlight was the Nudge Community
Builders parade – over 100 people made lanterns which were carried to the dragon to soothe
her to sleep. The Plymouth community has greeted The Hatchling with their spirit, enthusiasm,
skill and creativity. There have been so many incredible moments that will stay in my heart
forever.”

Angie Bual, Artistic Director of Trigger, said: “We are hugely grateful to the people of
Plymouth for welcoming The Hatchling into the city with open arms. Our ambition was to bring
people together for an experience that will live on in people’s memories long after she has
gone. We hope we can share the magic of The Hatchling with many other places around the
world in the future.

Following its World Premiere in Plymouth, The Hatchling will appear in London, heading a
procession of more than 5,000 performers at Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
Pageant, taking place on Sunday 5 June 2022.

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