Manipulate is nigh!

Jan 28 2020 | By More

Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival 2020

As the year turns chillier and darker, it’s always good to have good things to look forward to warm the heart and soul if not the body, writes Irene Brown.

This year the short dark driech month of February will been illuminated by the presence of Puppet Animation Scotland’s Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival which is switching venue from the Traverse, to take up residence at Summerhall with ancillary performances at the Festival Theatre Studio.

Lucy Ireland and Katie Miller rehearsing Sketches on The Meadows, Edinburgh, ahead of Manipulate. Before the show on Sat 1 Feb, each vignette will be performed in separate outdoor pop-up spaces across central Edinburgh.

Lucy Ireland and Katie Miller rehearsing Sketches on The Meadows, Edinburgh, ahead of Manipulate. NB: The pre-show pop-up performances have been cancelled for scheduling reasons. Pic: Colin Hattersley.

The move opens up extra performance spaces, making Manipulate’s thirteenth outing set to be its biggest yet with leading theatre artists and filmmakers from Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the USA joining a record number of Scottish artists.

In total they will be presenting 28 animated films, 27 productions, 10 works in progress, 6 cabaret pieces, 3 workshops, and 1 industry-focused event. Phew!

Simon Hart, Puppet Animation Scotland’s director said, “We’re pleased to be working with venue partners Summerhall and The Studio in Edinburgh, alongside the Norwich Puppet Theatre, to present manipulate 2020. We value greatly and celebrate the role the Traverse Theatre has played in manipulate’s on-going success and sustainability, especially in the early years of our festival’s evolution.


“The growth of Scottish companies presenting world-class work at the festival has really made programming our thirteenth festival incredibly special for the whole team, and we look forward to another exciting, stimulating and thought-provoking celebration of the very best of Scottish and international visual theatre, puppetry and animated film.”

Opening on Friday 31 January, the exciting and eclectic programme offers a mix of artists new to Manipulate such as Zinnia Oberski with Dreams of the Small Gods, as well as others who have previously performed, such as Paper Doll Militia with A Wire Apart.

Fault Lines from Two Destination Language. Pic: Manipulate

The wealth of international work sits alongside premieres of new Scottish visual theatre in a programme featuring more home-grown work than ever, with performance from Oceanallover (Transfigured) , Two Destination Language (Fault Lines), Jordan & Skinner (A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego) and Third Thread (Story of Now).

For the third year, the Festival presents cinema shorts that this time will include, Edinburgh Short Film Festival’s Animated Highlights: 2019, Pearly Oyster Productions: A Retrospective and A Taste of Quebec from Festival Stop Motion Montréal, the world’s first festival devoted exclusively to stop frame animation.

New to Manipulate, will be the hosting of the free ticketed festival café-cabaret in Summerhall. Each evening from 7.45pm the informal cabaret will be presented by some of Scotland’s leading physical and visual theatre makers, featuring Sita Pieraccini, Ruxy Cantir, Lucy McGreal, Long Green Jaws, L.A.R.D.S. and Two Detectives.

Rising Voices

There is the chance to see the “hits of tomorrow’s visual theatre world” ahead of the crowd for a fraction of the cost with a rich programme of works-in-progress in the Rising Voices strand. This includes the return to Summerhall of Swallow the Sea who appeared at this year’s Fringe. They form part of a series of short intimate puppet shows but will be indoors this winter rather than in the courtyard caravan!

Oceanallover with Transfigured. Pic: Gareth Easton

One of France’s most respected and successful visual theatre companies, AÏE AÏE AÏE bring their table-top puppetry to Ma Biche et Mon Lapin and a mix of man and machine in the absurdist piece, Ersatz. However, due to ill health both Tortoise in a Nutshell shows: Ragnarok and la Ceremonie, the latter a collaboration with AÏE AÏE AÏE, have been cancelled.

Scotland-based choreographer and performer Katie Armstrong presents Sketches. However the previously publicised pre-show pop-up performances in outdoor spaces across central Edinburgh have been cancelled for scheduling reasons.

Oceanallover, one of Scotland’s leading visual theatre ensembles, returns to manipulate with the premiere of their new promenade piece Transfigured to close the first festival Saturday.

In addition to programming dynamic, inspiring work from around the world, manipulate also empowers Scottish-based performers to develop compelling puppetry, visual and physical theatre, nurturing their initial creative ideas through Snapshots: Artists@Work programme with UP by Visible Fictions.

With challenging and international takes on circus, cabaret, workshops, collaborations, puppetry, animation and physical theatre, what’s not to like!

Ticket and Venue details

1 Summerhall, EH9 1PL Phone booking: 0131 560 1580
Tickets and details:

The Studio
22 Potterow, EH8 9BLPhone booking: 0131 529 6000
Tickets and details:

Ticket prices:
Fri 31 Jan & Mon 3 – Sat 8 Feb 2020
Productions: Full Price: £12 (Concs: £10)
Snapshots: Full Price: £3
Cabaret / Industry event / Sharings: Free but ticketed
Workshops: £120 / £60

Sat 1 Feb 2020
Summerhall Dissection & Main Hall Productions: Full Price: £12 (Concs: £10)
Summerhall Demonstration Productions: Full Price: £10 (Concs: £8)
Screenings: Full Price: £8 (Conc: £6)
Rising Voices: Full Price: £6 (Concs: £4)


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.