LIMERICK City of Culture vice chairman Tim O’Connor has confirmed that the “largest outdoor theatre company in the world” is coming to the city to perform the flagship event for the year.
After months of speculation, French pageantry company Royal de Luxe has been confirmed as coming to Limerick to stage the flagship event for the year of culture.
The company is to bring The Giant’s Journey to Limerick for 72 hours of free entertainment, between September 5-7.
The world renowned company is to unleash the Giant Saga – an original tale, developed and specially scripted for the city - to an expected audience in excess of 200,000 people.
The company is only taking the street procession to Nantes, Liverpool and Limerick this year and has never performed to less than 400,000 people.
Mr O’Connor said the show would be “curated specially for Limerick, with a story for and about the city” and said it was “probably the largest outdoor event to take place in Ireland in 2014”.
“It will be a fantastic summing up of what the year is all about,” he added.
Director Mike Fitzpatrick said the Royal de Luxe show would be a “major test for the city” due to the scale of the event, which will see City of Culture working with “every agency” in the city to produce it.
The show is expected to feature up to 160 people overall, with the fee paid to the French company running slightly in excess of €300,000, with up to €1m will be spent producing it in Limerick.
More than two thirds of that budget is to be spent on local infrastructure.
“Royal De Luxe has been wowing millions of people across the world with its Giant’s Saga and has garnered a reputation as being the best street theatre in the world,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.
“We are extremely privileged that Royal de Luxe has chosen to come to Limerick as one of only three shows this year. This is set to be an extraordinary experience for people of all ages and a once in a lifetime experience where Irish people can expect to be part of an urban fairy tale showcasing a history and legacy of the city.”
The project has been in planning since September and was in the original vision for the year by now departed artistic director Karl Wallace, who saw it as the key event of the year, possessing the ‘wow factor’ that would put City of Culture ‘on the map’.
The spectacular street theatre event is envisaged as becoming akin to Limerick’s ‘Volvo Ocean Race event’ by local authorities and tourism bodies, drawing massive crowds to see it.
For more on this story, see tomorrow’s Limerick Chronicle and the Limerick Leader broadsheet editions, in shops on Thursday