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Artichoke is a creative company, based in London. Artichoke puts on extraordinary shows that change the way people look at the world, working with the best creative minds to produce events that live in the memory forever. The company works in unusual places: in streets, public spaces or in the countryside, putting on shows which, though technically complex and ambitious, speak to the widest possible audience.

In May 2006, the company mounted the biggest piece of free theatre ever seen in London. Hundreds of thousands of delighted spectators followed the show, set against the city’s magnificent landmarks. Created by French theatrical magicians, Royal de Luxe, The Sultan’s Elephant featured a vast, time-travelling mechanical elephant, and a giant girl, twenty feet high.

Artichoke was founded by producers Helen Marriage and Nicky Webb. Before Artichoke, they worked together at the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), and launched the first arts programme at Canary Wharf in the early nineties, before transforming the Salisbury Festival from a local event into what The Times called ‘a miracle of modern British culture.

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Large mechanical elephant

The Sultan's Elephant, Royal de Luxe. London, May 2006. Photo Matthew Andrews, courtesy of Arts Council England.

Fireworks exploding above a building.

Carmina Burana at Salisbury Festival. Photo Steve Day.

Amazing discoveries…


Alexander Stanhope St George, inventor of the Telectroscope, was inspired by a chance meeting with the great British engineer Brunel when he was still a child. St George’s great–grandson found this photograph after his grandmother’s death.