2013 Manipulate festival of puppetry and animation

Programme includes work by TIP Connection, Will Anderson, Ainslie Henderson and The Paper Cinema

Now in its sixth year, the Manipulate Festival has evolved into a highlight of Scotland’s cultural calendar. In 2013, the puppetry and animation festival returns to the Traverse but adds Summerhall to its list of Edinburgh venues too and boasts its largest ever animation programme.

‘We have a very strong puppetry sector for children in Scotland,’ says Manipulate’s artistic director Simon Hart, ‘but it’s perhaps less well developed for adult audiences. I try to create a balance within each festival, so there’s a crossover between physical theatre and dance, as well as works where we see the interaction between technology and live performance. It’s about finding work that excites audiences, as well as exciting and inspiring me.’

Highlights from this year’s programme include TIP Connection’s To The End of Love, a worldless story inspired by the tale of Bluebeard, and Schicklgruber … Alias Adolf Hitler, a dark satire with Spitting Image-style puppets from the acclaimed Neville Tranter. In its animation strand, The Paper Cinema, who appeared at the first ever Manipulate in 2008, return with their take on Homer’s epic The Odyssey. And Iain Gardner will present Snapshots, a free series in which four recent animation graduates from Edinburgh College of Art -- including 2013 BAFTA nominees Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson -- introduce their short films before they are screened.

The future looks bright, too. ‘We’re already planning next year’s festival,’ Hart says. ‘I think there’s a really good niche for the sort of work that we show. Theatre in the UK is so rich and there’s so much variety. But often, I suppose because of our literary heritage, it’s very word orientated. The work that we present at Manipulate is much more focused on our visual senses, so I think the festival gives this type of work a real showcase.’

Traverse, Edinburgh, Sat 2--Sat 16 Feb; Summerhall, Edinburgh, Sun 3--Sat 9 Feb

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