THE visit of the Man Engine, the UK’s largest ever mechanical puppet, was one of the highlights of 2016 for Tavistock residents — and the project is now up for a National Lottery award and needs your vote.
Following the Man Engine’s journey from Tavistock through Cornwall, its creator Will Goodman pledged to take the colossal puppet — the height of two and a half double decker buses — around the world.
The first steps on that global journey are now looking more likely, with the news that the Man Engine is one of just seven projects campaigning to win the UK’s Best Art Project in the National Lottery Awards — the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery funded projects — which this year received a record 1,300 applicants.
If the Man Engine project wins, organisers will receive a £5,000 cash prize to spend on its project and Golden Tree Productions will attend a start-studded glittering awards ceremony which will be broadcast on the BBC in September, bringing them a welcome kick-start towards awakening him once again.
It has been almost a full year since thousands crammed into a smoke-filled Bedford Square to see the unveiling and rise of the Man Engine as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. 150,000 people turned out to see the puppet in person throughout its journey from West Devon down to the deepest point of Cornwall.
The brainchild of Will Coleman of Cornwall’s Golden Tree Productions, the Man Engine was designed and overseen by Hal Sylvester using a talented team of engineers, fabricators, welders, smoke and lighting experts and artists from across the region.
Will Coleman said: ‘We were over the moon when The Man Engine was nominated for a National Lottery Award and we are even more pleased now that he has reached the final public voting round.
‘When he steamed through the Cornish Mining Landscape, our colossal mechanical tin miner unearthed a deep-rooted vein of pride and resilience running the length of the land, as well as reigniting interest in and knowledge of the days when Cornwall was the Silicon Valley of the world.
‘Nearly one-in-three of the entire population of Cornwall came together to celebrate our mining heritage last summer, and we know many more wanted to come.’
‘It would be wonderful if we could bring him back, and ensure everyone has the chance to experience the spectacle of the Man Engine. So we’re hopeful that his fans will come out and vote for us as the UK’s best Arts project in the National Lottery Awards.
‘We are keen to awaken our giant from his long hibernation and commence his journey as he says farewell to Cornwall before heading to South Wales, the Midlands and the North of England in 2018. Winning a National Lottery Award would be a great start to our efforts to get him back on the road next year.’
To ensure the Man Engine rises again to set off beyond here, vote for the bespoke engineering miracle by calling the number 0844 8369676 or visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards