Voted the Best Arts Project in the UK by Arts Council England and supported by the National Lottery Awards, the Man Engine was conceived and created by Will Coleman to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.
The Man Engine is a giant animated puppet which stands at a full height of 11.2m in the form of a miner. The puppet transforms from crouching into a standing position powered by Volvo’s L220 wheeled-loader and is animated by a team of puppeteers who bring it to life.
The team behind the Man Engine, Golden Tree Productions, approached Titanium Fireworks to realise their creative vision and add special effects to enhance their theatrical, visual and aural experience. Spread over three months, our technicians toured with the puppet to deliver 26 shows at 15 different locations around the country, including mines is Cornwall, Devon, Wales, Yorkshire and Durham, as well as a special show for the main sponsors at the home of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Delivering a large-scale, multi-dimensional public cultural heritage project was not an easy task and we were delighted to partner with Golden Tree to enhance the narrative, paying tribute to 400 years of Cornish mining through the eyes of a miner’s first day at work – a boy just 7 years old.
The story required the Man Engine to lift a cauldron that was heated up to produce molten metal, with a tumbling wall of sparks, steam and heat. Using a Galaxis G Flame and various visual special effects of robotic flashes, lances, silver jets and bengals we created the illusion of the flaming cauldron with a pyrotechnic waterfall of gold sparks, producing a stunning sequence. To add a little extra sparkle and impact we also fired a low debris 30 second pyrotechnic finale from behind the Volvo unit as a celebration of this unique experience.