manipulate Visual Theatre Festival Returns In 2014

As St Andrew Square and Princes Street are being transformed to accommodate the forthcoming Yuletide celebrations, it is both strange and exciting to know that there is anticipation of excitement beyond the tinseled jollities that go from pre-advent to Ne’erday. When that happy festive balloon that is currently only being blown up has deflated there is theatrical joy to buoy us through the remainder of a dark winter in the form of the 2014 manipulate festival!

Now in its 7th year, manipulate, Puppet Animation Scotland’s international festival of visual theatre and film returns to Scotland. Under the artistic direction of Simon Hart, the 2014 festival features two world premieres, a European premiere and four UK premieres of the highest quality from Austria, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Scotland as well as a film programme from the global points in between.

The week of imaginative delights includes the double UK premières of Duda Paiva Company’s Bestiaires from the Netherlands that uses a fusion of modern dance, multimedia and skilled puppetry to bring the Greek Gods to life and Stephen Mottram’s Animata from England that explores the enormous issues of evolution and birth.

Scottish company Faux bring as a World première Torn, a sensual and compelling visual theatre solo that combines object theatre, kinetic art and an original live score. An innovative Scottish project is being developed by Scrapyard who have invited theatre makers of all disciplines to experiment and collaborate to present new work, inspired by the USA’s Paper Doll Militia’s Unhinged, that will the incorporate circus aerial arts and vivid theatricality.

Figurentheater Tuebingen (Compagnie Bagages De Sable & Theater Stadelhofen Co-Production) from Germany, has their UK première with Hotel de Rive. Scotland’s Fringe First winners Tortoise in a Nutshell return to manipulate with their poignant study of child soldiers through their intimate piece of visual theatre Grit.

From Russia there will be Polina Borisova’s Go! and from Austria Editta Braun Company’s bring Planet Luvos, a piece of visual and physical dance theatre that is a companion piece to their acclaimed Luvos, both of which will be UK premières.

An international programme curated by Susie Wilson and a full day of animation films and sharings echo an increasing audience following for the animation strand of the festival.

Three short films from Don Hertzfeldt (USA) combine into the darkly comedic triptych It’s Such a Beautiful Day. Estonia’s Priit Parn, one of the great figures of contemporary world animation, will feature in the festival when he will introduce a programme of his darkly funny and imaginative films, followed by a Q&A hosted by Neu Reekie Director Kevin Williamson.

Swedish comics creators Max Andersson and Lars Sjunnesson bring the second feature Tito on Ice follows as they tour the former Yugoslavia with a mummified Marshal Tito in a fridge, discovering truth may indeed be stranger than fiction. Manipulate’s popular Shorts screening returns with Tilt your Thinking: A Murder of Shorts featuring the best in international animation shorts.

Puppet Animation Scotland is dedicating a full day to animation films and discussion in 2014, which will provide a vivid insight into the variety and depth of Scotland’s animation community. World renowned animator, Joanna Quinn will be in the company of Will Becher an award winning animator and Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) graduate who has worked for the likes of Aardman and Laika; ECA Animation course leaders Neil Kempsell and Jared Taylor with the best short films from recent graduates as well as Axis and Red Kite Animation.

The festival’s 6.05 programme continues to present the work of emerging visual theatre and animation artists, with a scratch performance inspired by forensic science from England’s Club Adelphi and two animation premieres from Scotland’s Iain Craig and Ross Hogg in conversation with animator Iain Gardner.

manipulate’s popular masterclass programme held at Summerhall features The Power of the Puppet, where participants will be guided by the Netherland’s Neville Tranter (Stuffed Puppet) to explore the potential of puppetry to create powerful and unique theatrical languages and Puppets, Performers and Direction where participants will explore different creative devising and directing techniques with Liz Walker (Invisible Thread) and Mervyn Millar from England.

Once again dreich and dark post Yule nights look like being brightened by the magic of manipulate!

Edinburgh manipulate details

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Performances £16/£12/£8, Screenings £8, Animation Day Ticket £20, Film Pass £20

Summerhall, Edinburgh
Masterclasses £120, £200 for both Edinburgh Masterclasses
0131 560 1298

Monday 3 – Saturday 8 February: Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh