The cranes were used to hold up giant puppets that were used to tell the story of the Titanic in an outdoors ‘Sea Odyssey’ spectacle.
The event brought Liverpool city centre to a standstill over the weekend. The puppets included a 9m-high ‘Little Girl’ with her dog, and her 15m-high Uncle. Using the cranes, they were walked through the streets of Liverpool to re-enact their story, based on the Titanic and marking the 100th anniversary of the shipping disaster.
John Sutch Cranes’ role was described by the organisers as ‘the second most important aspect of the entire event’, after the creative team. The company was integral to the planning and development of the show from the outset, alongside Liverpool City Council, artistic group Royal De Luxe and event management company Event Design Logistics. Six months of logistics planning went into the event.
A mix of truck-mounted mobile tower cranes and all terrain cranes were used. Key lifts included plucking Uncle from the River Mersey, hoisting the giant over the 40m high arch at the gateway to China Town, laying the Little Girl to rest on her deck chair with her parasol and radio (the size of a large wardrobe) and enabling her to dance (to the delight of the crowds). Throughout this epic piece of theatre, the crane fleet provided support to the giant family right up to its final farewell journey on board a boat.
A team of 20 people from John Sutch Cranes were involved in the scheme led by project manager Paul Conneely. The company donated resources, time and money to the event.
Managing director John Sutch said: “This has been an incredible challenge for us. However, this has been an unforgettable event. Manoeuvring and setting up 10 cranes safely throughout a relatively small and extremely packed city centre, across three days, involved a huge amount of planning and skill. The ambitions of the theatre group and the council were enormous and it was our role to help make their vision a reality. Through a real team effort, this has been achieved and we are privileged to be part of an amazing event which over half a million people came to watch and celebrate.”