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What does a giant puppet dragon mean to Plymouth?

When the sun sets on Sunday, August 29, a dragon bigger than a double decker bus will unfurl its wings and take to the skies from Plymouth Hoe in a breath-taking spectacle never before seen on these shores.

The first time you’re told about The Hatchling it sounds utterly preposterous. But a team of immersive theatre makers, puppeteers and champion kite flyers are about to make the extraordinary happen.

The talented people at Trigger, the specialists who dreamt up The Hatchling, are about to give us a weekend that will linger long in the memory.

Watch our ‘behind the scenes’ video below

And for the people of Plymouth, it’ll be a sight to behold.

But they will also be right to question what a huge dragon puppet means to them – and why the city is putting on such a spectacle.

Art, culture and creativity has always sought to spark conversations and debate. So while there’s no clear answer to the question, part of the point is to get people asking it in the first place.

Plymouth is a place that welcomes these cultural conversations. This is how we tackle the issues of the day. As a welcoming city, how might we might respond to a new arrival? How do welcome this giant visitor – or migrant – in our midst?

Yes, dragons do not have a literal link to Plymouth. We have a history intertwined with the myths and legends of the sea. But dragon-slaying isn’t one of them.

What we do have is a rich history of taking risks. Plymouth has always pushed the boundaries of what’s possible.

We are pioneering. Risk-taking is bred into our very core. It’s in our culture.

The prospect of The Hatchling is a gamble. It’s a hard thing to pull off, but we’re on the cusp of doing it – and we’ll do it first before it moves on to London and next year’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

We are also shaped by our natural environment – defined by how the sea, land and urban areas meet, clash and harmonise.

When The Hatchling emerges from its egg in our brutalist city centre it will stalk our streets and meander past our street art before stretching across our glorious green Hoe and leaping towards the ocean.

It will do so thanks to our other proud asset – our communities. We are a beautiful collective of people partly borne from an edgy working class culture bred from our shipbuilding heritage that today mixes with a burgeoning cultural scene spliced with creatives.

These communities have helped give birth to The Hatchling – they have helped make it, imagine it and bring it to life. Working with Trigger, a network of community organisations represent our very DIY community – our entrepreneurial big city of small businesses and artists who have always made their own rules.

The Hatchling might not literally represent all these things but it speaks to them, embraces them and flies with them.

It is these wonderful attributes that our city’s Culture Plan seeks to nurture, so culture is at the heart of all we do as a city. This plan, published this summer, aims to establish an ambitious cultural vision for Plymouth. One that builds on our strong foundations and creates a framework for what culture looks like in the future.

Events like The Hatchling represent our ambition. They show us what culture can sometimes look like, what it does look like.

They make a statement about who we are, involve our communities and makers and embrace our natural environment. That’s the Plymouth we want to be.

We might not be home to a race of fire breathing dragons. But projects like The Hatchling are part of bigger plans to put the fire into Plymouth.

Hannah Harris, CEO Plymouth Culture
Pictures, Dom Moore

Yes, dragons do not have a literal link to Plymouth. We have a history intertwined with the myths and legends of the sea. But dragon-slaying isn’t one of them.

What we do have is a rich history of taking risks. Plymouth has always pushed the boundaries of what’s possible.

We are pioneering. Risk-taking is bred into our very core. It’s in our culture.

The prospect of The Hatchling is a gamble. It’s a hard thing to pull off, but we’re on the cusp of doing it – and we’ll do it first before it moves on to London and next year’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

We are also shaped by our natural environment – defined by how the sea, land and urban areas meet, clash and harmonise.

When The Hatchling emerges from its egg in our brutalist city centre it will stalk our streets and meander past our street art before stretching across our glorious green Hoe and leaping towards the ocean.

It will do so thanks to our other proud asset – our communities. We are a beautiful collective of people partly borne from an edgy working class culture bred from our shipbuilding heritage that today mixes with a burgeoning cultural scene spliced with creatives.

These communities have helped give birth to The Hatchling – they have helped make it, imagine it and bring it to life. Working with Trigger, a network of community organisations represent our very DIY community – our entrepreneurial big city of small businesses and artists who have always made their own rules.

The Hatchling might not literally represent all these things but it speaks to them, embraces them and flies with them.

It is these wonderful attributes that our city’s Culture Plan seeks to nurture, so culture is at the heart of all we do as a city. This plan, published this summer, aims to establish an ambitious cultural vision for Plymouth. One that builds on our strong foundations and creates a framework for what culture looks like in the future.

Events like The Hatchling represent our ambition. They show us what culture can sometimes look like, what it does look like.

They make a statement about who we are, involve our communities and makers and embrace our natural environment. That’s the Plymouth we want to be.

We might not be home to a race of fire breathing dragons. But projects like The Hatchling are part of bigger plans to put the fire into Plymouth.

Hannah Harris, CEO Plymouth Culture
Pictures, Dom Moore

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