Giant Puppets: Big Idea to Boost Chicago Tourism

Published on : Monday, April 21, 2014

download-110To boost tourism Chicago has turn up with a big idea, huge 50 feet puppets roaming the city’s streets in an elaborate theatrical presentation. According to sources, a multimillion-dollar deal is up to make Chicago the stage for Royal de Luxe, a French street theater company featuring marionettes as tall as 50 feet,



during the summer of 2016. Chicago would be the foremost foray into the U.S. for Royal de Luxe, and officials confirmed Friday that talks are underway to bring the giant puppets to town.


Jamey Lundblad, a spokesman for the city, said, “The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events talks to artists and organizations from around the globe on a daily basis about bringing performances to Chicago. We’ve spoken with Royal de Luxe and believe their unique street theater productions have a positive social and economic impact on their host cities.”


The troupe features a group of puppeteers maneuvering a menagerie of marionettes, as well as a huge elephant that sprays water on audience, and a 30-foot little girl. The characters act out a play over the course of days, incorporating locales throughout the city as backdrops.


Royal de Luxe, founded in 1979, has played to huge crowds in far-flung locales such as New Zealand, Mexico and Chile. The troupe performed before some 800,000 people during a three-day event in Liverpool, England in 2012, where Royal de Luxe is set to return this summer to pay tribute the 100th anniversary of World War I.


According to a report commissioned by the Liverpool City Council, the 2012 event in Liverpool cost the city about $2.5 million, but earned more than $50 million in associated revenue. According to the study above 80 percent of the visitors came to Liverpool specially to see the giant puppet show, with visitors spending an average of about $70 per day.

Chicago is looking for an arrival of tourists, revenue, and international media attention, drawn by surreal images of four-story marionettes lumbering down Michigan Ave. and other scenic venues. Choose Chicago, the non-profit agency that serves as the city’s convention and tourism bureau, would handle promotion. If the deal is done, the city may have to pull some strings to secure funding.





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