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The Magical Menagerie

16 July – 09 August 2010, Milton Keynes

Le Manège Carré Sénart

UK premiere

For the third time, Artichoke collaborated with the extraordinary artist-cum-engineer François Delarozière and his company La Machine. Acclaimed as a modern-day Michangelo, Delarozière designed the majestic 50’ elephant in Royal de Luxe’s The Sultan’s Elephant in 2006, and the astonishing spider La Princesse in Liverpool in 2008.

In the summer of 2010, Artichoke invited us all to take a voyage into a fairytale world with The Magical Menagerie. It was an installation with a difference: a huge, square carousel, as tall as a house and populated by all manner of strange mechanical creatures that can be operated by their riders. In France known as Le Manège Carré Sénart, this astonishing interactive artwork was commissioned by the new town of Sénart, just outside Paris.

We were delighted to have collaborated with our partners Sky Arts to present The Magical Menagerie as one of the centrepieces of the new IF: Milton Keynes International Festival which was produced by leading UK music venue, The Stables in association with Milton Keynes Gallery. 


In partnership with

Supported by

With thanks to

local wine retailer Stony Wine Emporium

Commissioned by

Commissioned by Scène nationale de Sénart

Conceived and built by François Delarozière and La Machine.

The project was made possible thanks to a collaboration between San de Sénart, EPA Sénart and Unibail-Rodamco.


I thought it was amazing, fun, brilliant, adventurous and thrilling and I would love to go on it again. We had to race two boys to the elephish and we won! Girls rule OK!

Ellen, audience member

The most magical piece of work ever. A total five minute adventure. I'll be back many times.

Emma, audience member

Brilliant! Love the idea that every little thing is bespoke and lovingly made

Mark, audience member

Enchanting - bridged the generation gap brilliantly. We took our grandchildren aged 9 and 10 and they loved it too. Absolutely mesmeric for all ages.

Sue, audience member

Went with the nephews and their mothers to Milton Keynes yesterday. We had a ball. The carousel is just fabulous. What a marvellous, magical folly. Loved the girls assigned to show us the ropes who also directed us to some of the other best bits of the festival (eg. the installation at the old Waitrose).

Naomi, audience member

“Riding on it is like tumbling through the workings of an enormous mysterious machine…As in the best of the new theatre, you are both swept along and in control, both actor and audience.”

Susannah Clapp, The Observer, Sunday 25 July 2010

Vital statistics

No. articulated trucks needed to deliver carousel


Time to construct carousel

3 weeks

Surface area



40 tonnes



No. of creatures


Size of team to construct carousel

11 French Technicians, 3 British Riggers

Carousel riders


Carousel spectators