Highlights include microscopic journeys through the human body, the return of Animated Highlights and the Scottish Play re-imagined
Puppet Animation Scotland has announced the programme for the 12th annual Manipulate, a festival of innovative visual theatre, puppetry and animated film from across the world. From Sat 2 Feb to Fri 9 Feb, practitioners from 16 countries will descend upon Scotland to stage 23 performances, 21 works in progress and 21 films, in celebration of the complexity, range and imagination of visual theatre.
Featured performances this year include Karl Jay-Lewin and Matteo Fargion's Extremely Pedestrial Chorales, which uses a quartet of dancers, a choir and a mix of high- and low-art to explore the roles and movements of the pedestrian, inspired by J S Bach's famous chorales. Acclaimed English company Ginger Green will also be joining the festival for the first time with their new production Intronauts, a microscopic journey through the human body as inspired by graphic novels, sci-fi and absurdist comedy.
Extremely Pedestrial Chorales
Told Theatre Award winner VOID will also be presenting their re-telling of JG Ballard's Concrete Island at the festival, having already stunned audiences at this year's Fringe with dancer Mele Broomes' risk-taking virtuosic physicality against unsettling backdrops of abstract glitch video and post-industrial soundscapes. Meanwhile, Paper Cinema marks their return to Manipulate with their re-imagining of Macbeth as a cautionary tale for our times through live illustration, live music and film, whilst Livsmedlet Theatre's Invisible Lands combines puppetry and video projection to explore the narratives surrounding refugees.
After their successful premiere last year, Animated Highlights, as presented by the Edinburgh Short Film Festival, will once more be showcasing a full day of screenings, featuring brilliant animated shorts that have graced film festivals around the world over the past 18 months. Stephen Moir's Phonotrope Animations will also be hosting its drop-in workshops concurrent to the screenings, wherein participants can learn about how animation is created through a record player and a live-action camera.
A new programming strand this year is Rising Voices, which will feature four works-in-progress by emerging developers who are creating intriguing new works. This year's featured works include Nino, a collaboration between performer Melanie Jordan and Glasgow-based company Tidy Carnage, which explores the stories of those without voice or power, and 99+, an examination into varying types of abuse and its attendant trauma by Kasia Zawadzka. Another showcased performance is Salt, a solo piece by Fiona Oliver-Larkin that explores domestic violence and how everyday objects can be tools in both oppression and freedom, as well as Transmographiles, which sees human hands transformed into unexpected creatures and characters.
The festival will also be hosting a series of workshops and training opportunities at Dance Base, with writer Anna Maria Murphy and Sarah Wright, Director of Curious School of Puppetry, exploring how narrative, words and puppetry can come together to tell a story. The Belgian dancer and performance artist Sabine Molenaar will be returning to lead a two-day intensive dance workshop on improvisatory and compositional tools, and Frank Soehnle and Alice Therese Gottschalk from Figurentheater Tuebeingen will be utilising interdisciplinary methods to demonstrate the symbiotic relationship between creativity, form, material and technique.
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.
Puppet Animation Scotland collates a collection of world-class animation, puppetry and related performing arts of all styles and techniques from a range of international artists and companies. The 2021 event features a digital programme alongside a live immersive installation programme featuring work by eight artists.