manipulate Visual Theatre Festival Announces 10th Programme

Friday 27 January – Sunday 5 February 2017


Puppet Animation Scotland presents the 2017 edition of manipulate Visual Theatre Festival, its innovative international festival of visual theatre and animated film. Returning for its tenth year, the festival will be presented in venues across Scotland and England, and features two world premieres, two European premieres, four UK premieres and one Scottish premiere with productions from Canada, Belgium, England, France, Spain and a particularly strong contingent of Scottish work. manipulate Visual Theatre Festival has always strived to bring outstanding and inspiring visual theatre to Scotland to create and empower a local network of performers to drive forward visual theatre, and to celebrate a decade of manipulate Visual Theatre Festival we are focusing on the remarkable work that is happening right here, at home in Scotland: this year will see manipulate Visual Theatre Festival celebrate the artists based in Scotland and their outstanding endeavours like never before.


The festival will open in The lemon Tree, Aberdeen with the UK premiere of Cities, a production created by world-renowned company, and manipulate first-timers, Théâtre de la Pire Espèce. With their signature low-fi approach, Olivier Ducas and scenographer Julie Vallée Léger explore the symbolic and poetic value of objects as they create an unusual collection of imaginary cities. Théâtre de la Pire Espèce’s use of live camera offers spectators the rare privilege of experiencing two simultaneous points of view on the same object or the same event: both the live action on stage and the projected images. A truly compelling and unique performance where each city provides a narrative about our own contemporary society, more than suitable for kicking off manipulate Visual Theatre Festival’s tenth incarnation. (Friday 27 January/The Lemon Tree; Wednesday 1 February/Traverse Theatre; Friday 3 February/Norwich Puppet Theatre)


Also at The Lemon Tree, performing for the first time with manipulate Visual Theatre Festival, is the UK premiere of La Pendue’s internationally-acclaimed production Poli Degaine. An anarchic ‘Punch’ puppet show refusing to shackle itself to the implausibility of adulthood, Poli Degaine has been performed in more than 30 countries across the world, highlighting the need for us all to escape the mundane and delve into the raucous realm of puppetry with Punch – one of puppetry’s most reproduced characters. (Friday 28 January/The Lemon Tree; Monday 30 January/Traverse Theatre)


Rounding off performances in Aberdeen and opening proceedings in Edinburgh will be the multi-award-winning manipulate veterans Tortoise In A Nutshell, with their recently developed work Fisk. Developed in Edinburgh and with our European neighbours, Teatr Katapult, Denmark, Tortoise in a Nutshell have a steadily growing international reputation, and for good reason. Fisk focuses on the story of a man and a fish and the unexpected impact they have upon one another. Examining themes of depression, dependence and desolation, Fisk is an exploration of the lengths we can go to in order to escape from ourselves, yet also find the joy in even the deepest and darkest of depths. (Saturday 28 January/Traverse Theatre; Saturday 4 February/The Lemon Tree; Wednesday 8 February/Thursday 9 February/Friday 10 February/Saturday 11 February/Traverse Theatre)


Carrying on with our international faction with yet another UK premiere, is the incredible Belgium company Compagnie Mossoux-Bonté. Having presented the first ever manipulate performance in 2008 we are delighted to share their most recent work: Whispers. In previous performances Nicole Mossoux has explored the different forms of interaction with marionettes, shadows and object manipulation, this time she engages with an immersive soundscape, dance and physical theatre. An incredibly moving and obscure piece that is testament to the boundary pushing nature at the heart of manipulate Visual Theatre Festival. (Monday 30 January/Traverse Theatre)


Glasgow based laboratory theatre ensemble, Company of Wolves, experiments and improvises with elements of theatre, dance, music and physicality to create work that challenges, questions and inspires. This, their first visit to manipulate Visual Theatre Festival will provide a platform for The End of Things which explores the all-too-human reluctance to embrace change and endings in the world premiere of what will be an unapologetically physical piece of theatre. (Tuesday 31 January/Traverse Theatre)


Sandman’s Sabine Molenaar will be pushing her body to its physical limits in the European Premiere of Touch Me: exploring the tenderness, hardness, vulnerability, loneliness, beauty and the solace of private places. Sabine is an incredible award-winning physical performer, and manipulate veteran, with the rare abilities to create intimate spaces on a vast stage. (Thursday 2 February/ Traverse Theatre)


The second of manipulate Visual Theatre Festival’s European premiere’s is that of the Canadian company Sens Equivoc, in a brilliantly virtuosic physical theatre piece at the crossroads of dance, mime, physical and object theatre, describing purely through what we see a vividly poetic world of intrigue and uncertainty. La Causeuse (The Loveseat) has no spoken dialogue, and instead relies completely on the performer’s physical abilities and the bizarre otherworldly properties of a piece of furniture. (Tuesday 31 January/ Traverse Theatre; Thursday 2 February/The Tobacco Factory Theatre)


Inspired by an artist residency in Sri Lanka and featuring excerpts of local folk songs, Scottish theatre maker, Sita Pieraccini will be performing the world premiere of Make A HOO. As with other productions showcasing at manipulate Visual Theatre Festival Make A HOO relies on the interplay of technology, sound and the performers ability to connect with the fabricated world around them. Sita has presented her work at manipulate before, and we are enamoured with her ability to weave dynamic physicality with story – without the use of words. (Wednesday 1 February/ Traverse Theatre)


Another production delving in to the realms of technology is the UK premiere of A House In Asia. Twisting stage performances with film projections, scale models and immersive sound worlds, A House in Asia will create a satirical pop culture portrait of the decade following 9/11. From boy-band Take That to Cowboys and Indians, the award-winning Agrupación Señor Serrano share their take on a decade which seeded the 21st century. (Friday 3 February/ Traverse Theatre)


The unashamedly brash Pickled Image are apprehensively welcomed to the Traverse Theatre with their Scottish premiere of Coulrophobia: join two clowns in their ridiculous cardboard world, pushing themselves and one another to their physical, and mental, limits. Utilising traditional puppetry and clowning in absurd ways, prepare for participation, strong language and disappointing nudity. (Saturday 4 February/ Traverse Theatre)


Continuing with clowning we welcome back Al Seed, a Glasgow based practitioner. In this terrifying performance, Oog explores the veritable dark world of trauma after conflict and the mental health of a shell-shocked soldier. An award-winning performance, Oog showcases the incredible quality of physical theatre in Scotland today. (Saturday 4 February/ Traverse Theatre)


Showcasing the best of Scottish visual theatre continues with Jordan and Skinner’s production of Sanitise. Exploring our most intimate insecurities and our darkest fantasies, Sanitise is a darkly playful production without words combining physical theatre, dance, music and animation. Intertwining the uncomfortable worlds of guilt, shame and sexuality, through a provocatively physical performance, Sanitise works in a feminist framework to discuss notions of identity. (Friday 3 February/ Traverse Theatre).


As always manipulate Visual Theatre Festival is not only dedicated to the sensational work occurring on stage, but also that occurring on screen. To celebrate manipulate’s tenth iteration there will be two presentations of the best of the short animated films we have screened over the past decade. Animators included are: Alexei Alexeev, Daniel Nocke, David O’Reilly, Joanna Lurie, Thomas Hicks, Ross Hogg, Ülo Pikkov, Kamil Polak, Andreas Hykade, Will Becher, Theodore Usher, Claire Lamond, Daisy Jacobs and Virgil Widrich. We are particularly delighted to include Stems, a film funded by Puppet Animation Scotland, by Scottish artist Ainslie Henderson which has recently been listed for an Academy Award in the animated short category. (Saturday 28 January/ Traverse Theatre; Thursday 2 February/ Traverse Theatre)


manipulate 2017 will host five free events in which audiences are invited to see work in development. The Snapshots: Artists@Work events will allow unprecedented access to view work in its various stages of development. From emerging artists, to fully-fledged practitioners, Snapshots give audiences and artists alike the opportunity to explore and evaluate work when it is absolutely vital for feedback. This year’s snapshots will be brought to you by: Plain Sight, Even Klein & Son, Choral Jam, Ainslie Henderson, Doctor Bunhead, The Scottish Physical Theatre Diploma Course, Tortoise in a Nutshell and Faux Theatre. manipulate will also host a free scratch event from its Testroom participants. Testroom is a unique artist development programme created by Puppet Animation Scotland with support from National Theatre Scotland and the 2017 cohort includes Ellie Griffiths, Caitlin Skinner & Melanie Jordan, Fergus Dunnet, Naomi O’Kelly and Lynda Radley & Nick Bone. We are also excited to present the work of Scottish artist Robbie Thomson who, after a three-month residency in Montreal, Canada, brings his robotic installation The Influencing Machine to the Traverse Theatre. (Saturday 28 January/ Traverse Theatre; Monday 30 January/Tron Theatre; Thursday 2 February/ Traverse Theatre)


Olivier Ducas’s incredible work on Cities inspired the first of manipulate Visual Theatre Festival’s masterclasses: Seed of a City: An Object Theatre Masterclass. Creating impactful meaning around apparently impassive objects is an incredible skill, and this masterclass will provide participants the opportunity to create their own cities through the innovative use of technology. (Sunday 29 January –Tuesday 31 January/Dance Base)


The second of this year’s masterclasses is presented by the seasoned theatre practitioner Gavin Glover, and will also focus on technology’s relationship with theatre and its ability to enhance performances and practices. Having founded, directed and performed with his groundbreaking company faultyoptic, Gavin has created Micro Cinema Theatre: A Video Camera & Performance Masterclass in which participants will be playing with scale, focus, light, sound and music, in order to explore new two and three dimensional worlds. (Wednesday 1 February – Friday 3 February/Dance Base)


Puppet Animation Scotland is pleased to be working once again with The Lemon Tree and Aberdeen Performing Arts, Traverse Theatre and Dance Base in Edinburgh, and Norwich Puppet Theatre, as well as the new venues Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol and Tron Theatre, Glasgow, to present another diverse and exciting manipulate Visual Theatre Festival.



Contact: Jen White, Festivals & Projects Manager, Puppet Animation Scotland / +44 (0)131 560 1298 / @manipulatefest / #manipulate




Notes to Editors:

PRESS LAUNCH: 6 – 7pm Wednesday 2 November, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

The press launch includes an introduction to the manipulate Visual Theatre Festival 2017 programme by Artistic Director Simon Hart; light refreshments; and the opportunity to meet some of the Scottish artists featured in the programme.



  • New to manipulate 2017 (Artists: Company of Wolves; Sens Equivoc; Théâtre de la Pire Espèce; Agrupación Señor Serrano; Jordan & Skinner; Al Seed; Pickled Image; venues: Tobacco Factory Theatres; Tron Theatre)
  • manipulate is ten years old manipulate visual theatre festival, created to inspire Scottish based practitioners, is celebrating its 10th birthday by showcasing Scottish based visual theatre artists whose work has been informed by the festival programme and artist development opportunities manipulate provides.
  • Scottish work at manipulate 2017 (The End of Things; Oog; Make A HOO; Sanitise; Fisk; Eat me; The Body in Shadow; Testroom; Ainslie Henderson; Tortoise in a Nutshell; The Physical Theatre Diploma Course; Doctor Bunhead; Faux Theatre; Robbie Thomson)
  • Mental Health at manipulate 2017: Performances looking at ideas of mental health (Whispers; Touch Me; Oog; Sanitise; Make a HOO; Fisk)
  • Technology at manipulate 2017: Performances and workshops blurring the boundaries between technology and theatre (Cities; A House in Asia; Make A HOO; Micro Cinema Theatre: A Video Camera & Performance Workshop; Seed of a City: An Object Theatre Masterclass)
  • Returning companies (Compagnie Mossoux-Bonte; La Pendue; Sita Pieraccini; Sandman; Tortoise in a Nutshell)


Ticket Prices:


The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen

Performances: £12/10/5

01224 641122


Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Traverse 1 Performances: £16.50/13.50/8.50;

Traverse 2 Performances: £13.50/10.50/8.50

Screenings: £8.50

3 Show Pass: £42

Full Festival Pass: £156

0131 228 1404


Dance Base, Edinburgh

Individual Masterclass: £125; Both Masterclasses: £200

0131 225 5525


Tron Theatre

Performances: Free

0141 552 4267


Norwich Puppet Theatre

Performances: £16/14

Individual Masterclass: £150

01603 629921


Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol

Performances: £13/9

0117 900 0344


manipulate Venue Dates

The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen: 27 January – 3 February 2017

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh: 28 January – 4 February 2017

Dance Base, Edinburgh: 29 January – 3 February 2017

Norwich Puppet Theatre: 3 February – 5 February 2017

The Tobacco Factory Theatre: 2 February 2017

Tron Theatre: 30 January 2017