The Hatchling

A spectacular dragon that hatches from an egg, grows to the size of bus and flies from land over water.

In 2024 The Hatchling will return with an unforgettable spectacle of beauty and flight as the signature collaboration for Our Year – Wakefield District 2024

Our Year - Wakefield District 2024 currently have several opportunities to join The Hatchling project with Trigger. Follow the link below to find out more.

The Hatchling is a ground-breaking outdoor theatrical performance that unfolds over a weekend of events leading up to an extraordinary finale.  

 Our beautiful visitor hatches, builds herself a nest and then takes to the skies in a bid for her freedom. Along the way, she explores the city, and as she roams, she encounters a series of events from intimate interactions to city-wide performances, prepared especially for her majestic visit.  

 At the end of her journey our Hatchling undergoes an incredible metamorphosis, unfurls her wings, and takes flight! With a wingspan of over 20 metres, the Hatchling is the world’s largest human-operated puppet to fly. 

‘Something truly out of this world’

BBC News

Project Story

Part 1

Research and ideas

How can we stimulate conversations about immigration, migration and ‘otherness’?  

How can we face prejudice and fear with a symbol of unity? 

Revered and respected in the East and a monstrous animal in the West, the dragon is a universal icon. Ancient cultures across the world feature the dragon in their folklore, stories, and imagery. From China to India, Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia and across the UK.  

Developing The Hatchling we consulted experts in puppetry and kite flying, a set designer, a ferry company, a hot air balloon company and a production management team working in the commercial world, screen animators and scientists. 

The large-scale puppet dragon was designed in consultation with a palaeontologist and based on the anatomy of dinosaurs, reptiles and other flying creatures.  

Roaming the city and evoking a mixture of fear and empathy amongst locals, before unbelievably taking flight, The Hatchling underlines themes around freedom of movement. Our dragon is a lost migrant trying to find a home. 

Part 2

Creative Programme

The Hatchling World Premiere: Plymouth, 2021

The Hatchling in Plymouth was a ground-breaking outdoor theatrical performance that unfolded across a weekend of special events, experienced by over 30,000 people, and reaching an extraordinary finale over the coast of Plymouth in 2021.

Our beautiful visitor hatched in the city, built herself a nest, made friends and grew to the size of a double decker bus. Along the way, she encountered a series of intimate interactions and city-wide performances prepared especially for her majestic visit, before transforming in front of an audience of tens of thousands of people, and taking to the sky in a bid for her freedom.

“It was incredibly moving to see her take flight… bringing people together through a unique once in a lifetime experience. I will never forget it.”

Audience Member

The Hatchling: Platinum Jubilee 

The Hatchling led an array of cultural celebrations outside Buckingham Palace at the Platinum Jubilee Pageant in June 2022.

This time our Hatchling dragon puppet led the celebration pageant along The Mall in front of thousands of spectators, bringing central London to life with colour, street theatre and dance.

As she curiously and playfully explored The Mall, the Hatchling was greeted by a friend. A single dancer - a young woman with a flowing ribbon baton in hand, who’s presence emboldened and elevated the Hatchling’s confidence. Intricate kites and long, flowing ribbons unfurled at the dragon’s wings, adding a sense of flight, excitement and celebration. Their activity heralded the arrival of the pageant parade which they guided towards the palace.


Wakefield - 2024

As part of Our Year – Wakefield District 2024, The Hatchling will offer people across the Wakefield district the opportunity to get involved with culture and creativity.  

Stay tuned for the latest updates.

The Hatchling is now available to tour.

For booking enquiries please contact 

Creative Team

Angie Bual
Creative Director
Mervyn Millar

(War Horse, Significant Object)

Carl Robertshaw

(Ellie Goulding, Bjork)

Ruth Chan
Temujin Gill and Sunanda Biswas
Key partners