This fox puppet, called Farrah, was made by Historic England in partnership with Emergency Exit Arts to celebrate Hi! Street Fest – the final part of the High Street Heritage Action Zones Cultural Programme, which has sought to revitalise high streets across England.
Standing 5m high – taller than a double-decker bus – Farrah was designed by Tony Mason and is operated by two puppeteers from the inside. A fox was chosen to be the representative as they have to adapt quickly to a changing environment, and it is hoped Farrah will inspire people to think about how high streets can do the same. Over the next couple of months, she will be scooting her way down the high streets of Lowestoft, Gloucester, Wigan, Gosport, Middlesbrough, and Stalybridge, where she is meeting fellow puppets who have been created by their own local communities – in collaboration with puppet-makers Thingumajig Theatre – to reflect each town’s individual culture and heritage. Each puppet parade is followed by music, street parties, and other events celebrating the bright future of the high street.
After visiting these six locations across England, Farrah will return to her home of Woolwich on 22 September, along with the new puppet friends she met on her journey, for a day of special performances to celebrate the end of Hi! Street Fest.
To learn more about the High Street Heritage Action Zones, visit https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/heritage-action-zones/regenerating-historic-high-streets.
Text: Kathryn Krakowka Image: Historic England