Puppet Animation Scotland presents the 2019 edition of manipulate, its innovative festival of international, award-winning visual theatre, puppetry and animated film. This year leading theatre artists and film-makers from Canada, Columbia, Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Spain and the USA present 23 performances, 21 works in progress, 21 films, 3 workshops, and 1 industry-focused seminar.

manipulate begins with a series of workshops and training opportunities at DANCEBASE, Edinburgh.  Puppeteer and artistic director of Curious School of Puppetry Sarah Wright and writer Anna Maria Murphy explore with participants how words and narrative can work with puppetry to tell stories in workshop TO SPEAK OR NOT TO SPEAK. Frank Soehnle & Alice Therese Gottschalk, from Figurentheater Tuebeingen, use their cross-arts disciplinary approach to the making of new work to inspire participants to engage with the symbiotic relationship and balance between creativity, form, material and technique in THINGS ON STRINGS. Leading Belgian dancer and performance artist Sabine Molenaar (manipulate 2018/ALMOST ALIVE) returns with a two-day intensive workshop CREATING YOUR UNIVERSE, for experienced dancers experimenting with different improvisatory and compositional tools and techniques to release creative originality. (2 – 9 February 2019, Dance Base)



The programme begins with choreographer, performer Karl Jay-Lewin and composer, musical director and performer Matteo Fargion presenting EXTREMELY PEDESTRIAN CHORALES. A quartet of dancers, a choir, a beguiling mix of high and low art exploring the multifarious roles and movement language of the pedestrian, inspired in form and structure by JS Bach’s famous chorales. Jay-Lewin and Fargion explore everyday acts of beauty and meaning with big shoes, punk-ish irreverence and general joyful misbehaviour. (Monday 4 February/Traverse Theatre)

Then step into the WUNDERKAMMER a cabinet of curiosities, with Figurentheater Tuebingen, Germany. A theatrical entertainment betwixt the visual and performing arts in which the complex, many-faceted medium of the marionette can release our senses and understanding to perceive gravity and magnetism. In this Wunderkammer – this treasure-chest – there is a universal connection between all things, a place where history, art, nature and science are fused as one. After the success of its productions SALTO.LAMENTO and HOTEL DE REVE, presented at previous festivals, we are very pleased to welcome the return of this internationally acclaimed German puppetry company. (Monday 4 February/Traverse Theatre, Saturday 2 February, Norwich Puppet Theatre)

We are proud to present the leading English company Green Ginger at manipulate for the first time. Green Ginger’s new production, INTRONAUTS, propels audiences into a microscopic journey deep within the human body. Inspired by favourite graphic novels, classic sci-fi movies and fuelled by absurd visual comedy, take a bizarre wild trip that really gets under your skin, an intoxicating inner body experience that is out of this world. After all, what could possibly go wrong? (Tuesday 5 February/Traverse Theatre)

Acclaimed French ensemble, Compagnie Sacékripa presents VU, a delicate, wordless show about the small obsessions of life. A man makes a cup of tea and eats a marshmallow. A manipulator of everyday objects with a meticulous character, with a delicate and outrageously neat and tidy nature, finds himself at the crossroads between object theatre, miniature circus and involuntary clowning. (Tuesday 5 February/Traverse Theatre)

Total Theatre Award winners, F/DA & MHz present VOID, in association with Feral. A retelling of JG Ballard’s cult novel Concrete Island reimagined through the lens of a black female protagonist and staged as a meshing of experimental dance and abstract glitch video landscapes. Mele Broomes (performer and choreographer) performs risk-taking virtuosic physicality to the brooding backdrop of a post-industrial soundscape. (Wednesday 6 February/Traverse Theatre)


With such a dynamic and varied programme ahead, Manipulate’s 12th year looks to be its strongest yet, continuing on its vital role as a champion for visual theatre both in Scotland and beyond.


– The List


Experience a unique meeting between puppetry, physicality, choreography and video projections in Livsmedlet Theatre’s INVISIBLE LANDS. By using their bodies as visceral organic performance platforms, geography and politics are physically extended and emotionally transformed. Since its premiere eighteen months ago this innovative production has been highly acclaimed by international audiences. It reminds us powerfully that our opinion of refugees is largely a matter of choosing our point of view. (Wednesday 6 February/Traverse Theatre, Thursday 7 February/Paisley Arts Centre, Friday 8 February/Perth Theatre)

Following its critically acclaimed production The Paper Cinema’s ODYSSEY, presented at manipulate in 2013, this award-winning company returns to the festival with a powerful and inventive reimagining of MACBETH, as a cautionary tale for our times. With its charming and witty DIY-aesthetic The Paper Cinema creates magical productions which combine and unify the languages of animation, live music, film and theatre in a unique way. Intricate pen and ink illustrations are skilfully manipulated and layered in real-time in front of a live video camera and projected onto the big screen, generating memorable images and narrative which have delighted audiences around the world. (Thursday 7 February/Traverse Theatre, Friday 8 February/Perth Theatre)

A personal interpretation of the darker elements of the Briar Rose fairy tale, SLEEPING BEAUTY is a story for grown-ups created and performed by Company Akselere’s Artistic Director, Colette Garrigan. Creating a unique and threatening realm of objects and imaginative lighting, Garrigan integrates her Liverpudlian voice with her adopted French tongue to describe a dangerous world where the blackest of humour co-exists with poetic stillness and insights. Now based in Normandy, Colette has created seven successful productions over the past fifteen years, becoming an important and distinctive theatrical voice in France. (Friday 8 February/Traverse Theatre, Saturday 9 February/Perth Theatre)

Leading English company Invisible Thread presents BEGUILED, two intimate one-act table-top puppetry pieces: Catmother an experimental, toy theatre style re-telling of a scary Victorian children’s tale, set to a live-played double bass score; and Les Hommes Vides, a charming and eerie performance of slapstick puppetry and object theatre, featuring scenes of death-defying plank action, existential angst, poetry and prizes. (Friday 8 February/Traverse Theatre)

Al Seed presents a re-imagining of his Herald Angel Award-winning show, THE FOOLIGAN & THE BRIDGES OF MADNESS, a modular, musical cabaret act presented by grotesque 18th century characters who form a merry band. Through songs, poems, soundscape, movement, dance and storytelling, the audience is taken on a hilarious theatrical journey, playfully exploring themes of mortality, the supernatural and the nature of evil. (Friday 8 February/Traverse Theatre)


One of Scotland’s most interesting festivals, manipulate has developed a reputation for showcasing innovative work from around the world in visual theatre and animation.


– The Scotsman

Following the format’s success in 2018, we are once again presenting a whole day of animated film screenings and Q&A’s. The Edinburgh Short Film Festival presents ANIMATED HIGHLIGHTS: 2018, a programme of dynamic and brilliant new shorts which have featured prominently at leading international festivals over the past eighteen months. Animator and director Will Becher also returns to manipulate with THE ART OF STOPMOTION ANIMATION an illustrated talk using examples of his acclaimed career at Ardman Animations, featuring rarely seen behind-the-scenes footage and puppets from the company’s latest feature film, EARLY MAN. Explore one artists’ journey from a very poor Polish town to the glamour of Hollywood with  Balbina Bruszewska, award-winning animator, collage winner, film-maker, designer and philosopher IN LIFE JOURNEYS – ANIMATING THE WORLD. Our IMAGES & WORDS: DOUBLE BILL features a story told by multi award-winning animator Ainslie Henderson alongside a unique collaboration between Femmes Film Curators Collective & Hail of Bright Stones exploring the work of the University of Edinburgh’s scientific film pioneer Eric Lucey. We are also collaborating with Cinemaattic again this year to present Carlos Santa, the eminent award-winning pioneer of experimental animation in South America in CONTEMPORARY ANIMATION: SOUTH AMERICAN MASTER. (Saturday 9 February/Traverse Theatre)

The last event of this year’s festival is presented by the formidable forces of Plutôt la Vie, CLoWnStePPinG & Melanie Jordan and their brilliantly curated CLOWN CABARET SPECIAL EDITION. A delightfully daft evening with some of Scotland’s finest clowns, each of them unleashes their wild and wonderful dreams and fantasies on our final manipulate audience. This is a British Sign Language interpreted event.  (Saturday 3 February/Traverse Theatre)

In addition to programming dynamic, inspiring work from around the world for our large and enthusiastic audiences, manipulate also empowers Scottish-based performers to develop compelling puppetry, visual and physical theatre, nurturing their initial creative ideas through our SNAPSHOTS 1, 2, and 3and TESTROOM series(Monday 4 February, Tuesday 5 February, Thursday 7 February, and Saturday 9 February/Traverse Theatre, Tuesday 12 February /Tron Theatre)



Alongside these popular programmes within which Scottish-based theatre makers present a flavour of their current explorations, we introduce Rising Voices. A new programming strand, which features four more substantially finished pieces created by emerging practitioners developing intriguing and exciting work:

NINO: a collaboration between performer Melanie Jordan and Glasgow-based theatre company Tidy Carnage which highlights the stories of those who have no voice or power (Wednesday 6 February/Traverse Theatre) 

99+: Kasia Zawadzka take us on a visceral and unblinking examination of the trauma of abuse – emotional, physical, sexual. A powerful journey from darkness towards hope, dramatized through physicality, slow-motion movement, Shibari rope work, ambient music and art installation (Thursday 7 February/Traverse Theatre) 

SALT: Fiona Oliver-Larkin presents a solo performance-piece exploring domestic violence and how everyday objects can be both tools of control and oppression, and of resistance, freedom and escape. (Thursday 7 February/Traverse Theatre)

TRANSMOGRAPHILES: Watch human hands move, morph and combine in unusual ways, becoming unexpected creatures and characters. A piece created by Hopeful Monster, a new company formed by three artists from different countries – Scotland, England and Hungary – brought together by a shared desire to create surprising new puppet shows. (Friday 8 February/Traverse Theatre, Saturday 9 February/Perth Theatre)

This year we are also using the Traverse Theatre bar area to present Stephen Moir’s PHONOTROPE ANIMATIONS, a drop-in workshop throughout our day of animated films, which provides participants with a unique approach to the creation of animation utilising a record player and live action camera. Easy and fun to use and engage with, no experience is necessary. (Saturday 9 February/Traverse Theatre).  

Puppet Animation Scotland is dedicated to championing and enhancing our puppetry, visual and physical theatre communities. With our partner the Total Theatre Awards, we present LEADING IN SCOTLAND: A SEMINAR, a one-day industry-focused seminar of discussions, interrogations and visioning of practical initiatives, for all theatre-arts practitioners passionate about the future of our sector. We have invited Anatomy, Buzzcut, Clown Cabaret, Curious School of Puppetry, Physical Theatre Diploma Course and Surge to the discussions. (Tuesday 5 February/Traverse Theatre)  


animation of the manipulate logo


Puppet Animation Scotland is pleased to be working with venues partners Perth Theatre, Paisley Arts Centre, Dance Base, Norwich Puppet Theatre, and the Tron Theatre. We particularly value our on-going relationship with the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, the home of manipulate. With all these leading venues and organisations, we look forward to another exciting, stimulating and through-provoking celebration of worldclass Scottish and international visual theatre, puppetry and animated film.