A giant model of a snail, in front a lot of people. The body is bright pink while the shell is covered in multicoloured strips of fabric , arranged in the order of the pride colours.

The Snail

An out-and-proud celebration & exploration of home.

The Snail is in development for 2023 and we are looking to open up conversations with presentation partners, programmers and producers.

The Snail is a gigantic, hot-pink snail puppet that is an out-and-proud celebration and exploration of home: what it is and how we find it.

The Snail leads a big puppet travelling parade performance, guided by local community groups as they help the Snail navigate through a new city to find its new home.

The presentation of The Snail offers a unique spectacle and a site-responsive opportunity, where a variety of community performances, as well as engagement and outreach initiatives, can be thoughtfully curated.

Hovering high above the audience’s heads, The Snail moves slowly, creating ripples and shimmering effects. Measuring 10m long, 6m tall, and 3m wide, it dwarfs a double-decker bus. Its vibrant, bright, and bold colours offer a striking visual contrast, particularly the large inflatable pink head with googly, springy eyes, set against the shell’s spirals of kaleidoscopic colour.

At night, integrated lighting technologies illuminate The Snail from within, creating a powerful light-based kinetic sculpture. Mounted with the Snail Shell, giant bubble and foam machines leave a glistening, bubbling snail trail in its wake, occasionally transforming the space behind it.

Olivier award-winning puppet designer Nick Barnes Puppets and Puppets with Guts will craft a giant snail-shell, a lightweight biomorphic kaleidoscopic structure using sustainable, reusable and eco-friendly building materials. Led by Puppets with Guts Artistic Director Ivan Thorley, in collaboration with Nick Barnes, the project aims to develop a world-class design.

Artistic References:

Les Girafes: An Animal Operetta- https://www.giaf.ie/festival/event/les-girafes

The Hatchling: A spectacular dragon that hatches from an egg, grows to the size of bus and flies from land over water- https://www.triggerstuff.co.uk/our-work/the-hatchling


Past Performances

Originally presented as a work-in-progress at Brighton Pride 2019, The Snail paraded in front of more than 300,000 people and was featured on national news outlets. Leveraging the initial success of The Snail, this new development will delve deeper into the concept of ‘I carry my home on my back’.

The first phase of R&D will involve the Core Creative Team and the Creative Advisory Board. This phase will focus on making key creative decisions, including finalizing puppet designs and developing the core narrative. Once The Snail puppet is constructed and the script is completed, we will embark on an extensive rehearsal period. The goal is to prepare The Snail for presentations at festivals fully. We plan to showcase The Snail at outdoor arts festivals, pride parades, large-scale indoor club nights, and carnivals.


What’s Next for The Snail?

If you are interested in supporting the Snail for your project or event, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch.

  • “Thousands of people lined the streets of Brighton during the Pride parade”

Cast and Creatives

Artistic Director: Ivan Thorley
Theatre Director and Engagement Producer: Vicky Moran
Designer: Nick Barnes Puppets
Associate Designer: Caroline Bowman
Writer: Andrew McCaldon

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