January can feel bleak and empty when the New Year celebrations are over and the Christmas decorations have once more gone to ground. But as January draws to a close, the manipulate festival rises like a phoenix from the ashes, breathing new life into the greyest of days.
Puppet Animation Scotland’s International festival of visual theatre and film is set to return for its eighth year in 2015, bringing an exciting programme of events featuring two world premiers, four UK premiers, a European premier and two Scottish theatrical premiers. An impressive number of nations across the globe will be represented, from Russia in the East to the USA in the West, taking in the Czech Republic, Italy, France and Belgium along the way.
The Performance strand of the festival will feature an eclectic mix of movement, dance, puppetry and object theatre from ten different theatre companies. Scottish company All Or Nothing will kick the programme off with an exploration of the themes of action and reaction, using breathtaking displays of aerial acrobatics and other circus skills. A triple bill from Paper Doll Militia, Italian company CEC and Scotland’s own Spotted Stripes Circus also promises to be a physical theatre highlight.
With a puppet and mask performance by Eric Blass, a visual, multi-disciplinary adaptation of Madam Butterfly by Ramesh Meyyappan and a collage of movement, sound and light by Andrea Miltnerova, Russian company and cult icons Theatre AKHE will bring the performance strand to an eccentric end with the extraordinary Mr Carmen.
In 2015, the Animation strand will expand once again with a broad programme of screenings from world-class animators. Scotland is well represented, with contributions from Neil Kempsell, award-winning animator Claire Lamond and a much-anticipated screening of Monkey Loves Experiments from BAFTA-winning duo Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson. Also on the bill, award-winning filmmaker Thomas Hicks will present ten of his own films as well as three films that have personally impressed and inspired him; Ulo Pikkov, one of Estonia’s most innovative animators, will present a selection of his work; and BAFTA-nominated Robert Morgan will present a programme of his own, and others’, films that have been specially selected to distress and disturb.
Once again the 6.05 Snapshots programme will showcase the work of the most exciting emerging artists in the arena of visual theatre and animation. In 2015, six artists including Iain Craig, Anna Hughes and Mariel Rodart can all be viewed – and all for free. The popular Masterclass programme is also set to return, with two classes available at the usual Summerhall venue.
The festival will run from 30th January until 7th February, with the full programme of performance, animation and snapshot events taking place at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. A small selection of the animation and performance programmes can also be viewed at The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen and Norwich Puppet Theatre. Book early and give yourself something colourful to look forward to when the sparkly season is done.
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Performances £16/£12/£8, Screenings £8, Film Pass £25, 3 Show Pass £38, 5 Show Pass £64
The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
Performances £10, 2 Show Pass £16, 3 Show Pass £24
Norwich Puppet Theatre
Performances £16/£14/£12, Screenings £8
Full Festival Pass – Masterclasses and Performances - £300, Performance Pass £65/£55, 3 Day Masterclass £170, 2 Day Masterclass £100
Masterclasses £125 or £210 for both Edinburgh Masterclasses