Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival 2014 launches
Between 31st January and 8th February 2014, Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival returns to Scotland for a 7th year. Hosted by Artistic Director Simon Hart of Puppet Animation Scotland, the festival spans across The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, and The Norwich Puppet Theatre with work from theatre artists, animators, filmmakers and puppeteers alike.
Since 2008, the international festival has established itself as a key platform from which visual artists have been able to share their work. Dedication to the support and sustaining of this genre was fully evident at today's launch, led by Hart. "This is an incredibly important niche for the emergence of visual arts," he said, "with puppetry in particular."
The committment shown by Hart and those visiting companies is what has given an increasingly respected craft a chance to breathe in the industry. Hart goes on to talk about his close partnership with the Traverse, whose demographic has been somewhat shaken up by the festival: "Their average audience is aged sixty-two. During the festival, that changes to an average of twenty-eight." If anything, this is fuel for the suggestion that the younger generation is particularly drawn to this area of visual arts; an encouraging sign for people like Hart, and those newer artists involved in the festival.
In terms of film and animation, the festival is host to both international artists, (Estonia's Priit Pärn and the USA's Don Hertzfeldt), and those much closer to home from Edinburgh College of Art, who will be showcasing short films from their most recent graduates.
For anyone even vaguely interested in visual theatre, this is an absolute gem of an event. One can only be enchanted by the richness of the work generously packed into 9 days. And for those of you interested in a 'hands-on' experience, there will be masterclasses from internationally acclaimed artist, Neville Tranter and his company, Stuffed Puppet, Liz Walker (Deviser, Performer and Director) and Mervyn Millar (Puppeteer and Director) most recognised for his direction of the puppetry in the National Theatre's production of War Horse. See the full schedule online here.