The colossal engineering miracle, which resembles a giant miner, visited seven of south Wales’s most important industrial heritage locations for a week of celebrations from 08 – 12 April 2018 as part of his journey, entitled: “Man Engine Cymru: forging a nation”.
Designed to celebrate the rich mining heritage of south Wales, each stop on the Man Engine’s tour of Wales offered bespoke spectacles, from gripping theatrics and nostalgic choral renditions, to traditional Welsh storytelling and even an awe inspiring after-dark fire show.
The Welsh tour was a collaboration among the cultural sector in Wales, with Swansea University working in partnership with the Welsh Government’s historic environment service (Cadw), Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales, four local authorities (Torfaen, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Swansea), Head4Arts and Golden Tree Productions.
The partners organised a successful bid to host the monumental puppet in south Wales, receiving £135,000 from Visit Wales, and a further £25,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, all with the aim of prompting further nationwide dialogue around the legacy of Wales’s historic mining communities.
Animated by a team of more than a dozen ‘miners’, the giant puppet began its grand tour of Wales. The epic tour told the story of how the Industrial Revolution shaped Wales and in turn, how Wales shaped the world — from the technological innovation formed through global trading links and industrial partnerships, to the experiences and endeavour of Wales’s working people, which led to social innovation, political reform and the birth of the NHS.
As a giant symbol of global mining and new ambassador for Wales’s mining heritage, the Man Engine met key historical characters on his route through the south Wales Coalfields, both celebrating the achievements and commemorating the sacrifices of Wales’s industrial past.