Giant spider and minotaur crawl through the streets of Toulouse

A giant spider and minotaur have this weekend set the French city of Toulouse on stilts. To make them look as real as possible, the machines sound when they move and steam comes out. Dozens of technicians control the figures, which are part of a street theatre festival.

The four-day show ‘The Guardian of the Temple’, a reinterpretation of a Greek myth, started on 1 November and ends today. The machines are a creation of François Delarozière, artistic director of the La Machine theatre company. Delarozière wants to transform the whole city and its inhabitants into one big theatre.

The minotaur is called Asterion and is made of wood and metal. It is about six stories high and towers above buildings. 16 people are needed to drive him. Initially he was sleeping on a square in the city. The next morning, he came to life and went walking through the streets. The minotaur can carry 50 people on its back and remains permanently in Toulouse after the festival. From 9 November he will get a place in the Machine Hall.

The spider, Ariane, had previously been seen in Liverpool. She also came to life during the festival and started to crawl through the city under the guidance of actors, opera singers and musicians. The show attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the centre of Toulouse.

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