Puppet Animation Scotland has today launched their new website for Manipulate, and with it they’ve announced next year’s line up. This brilliant festival is an important fixture in the puppetry sector as it brings some of the most important puppet and object-based theatre makers to Scotland. I have had the privilege of taking part in the master class offered to coincide with the festival, for two years. And this year’s festival schedule and the master class looks like it won’t disappoint the high expectations Scotland-based artists have for this festival.
I am particularly excited to see Muller’s Hamletmachine from France’s Compagnie Sans Soucis. Here is a video of this production (though on the Manipulate site they say it’ll be performed in English.)This piece will open the festival and you can bet I will be in the front row.
Also very tantalizing is Russia’s Akhe Engineering Theatre, who have an intriguing blend of disciplines apparent in the project being presented in Edinburgh in Feb. and their other projects.
What Puppet Animation Scotland seem to be doing is finding the best of what the continent can offer and bringing it here, not just for a wider audience but for the betterment of the sector – one that is only beginning to explore object-based theatre for adult audiences. I can’t think of an organization doing more to help the puppetry sector grow and to find artists in other sectors and bringing them into the puppetry fold. Bringing artists from abroad is one thing, but another good opportunity they are giving emerging artists or artists whose work isn’t normally geared toward adults is the Snapshots programme. I was lucky enough to take part in Snapshots three years ago and was given money to explore a short piece. I made hundreds of mistakes in that process, everything from how I conducted rehearsals to how I spent the money to how I chose to tell the story. HOWEVER, it taught me lessons that have been useful – crucial! – in every project since. And, during that process, I made my first puppet and connected with artists who are now friends and future collaborators. This year three artists will work with established directors for their Snapshots pieces and I think this is a brilliant evolution of the idea that was already impressively re-concieved last year. I look forward to seeing what Snapshots will look like in 2013.
Another great example will be Polaris from Czech Republic’s Wariot Ideal.