Manipulate festival announces 2022 programme

Puppet Animation Scotland's festival returns for its fifteenth anniversary edition with a programme of live performance in Edinburgh

Preview by The Skinny | 04 Nov 2021
  • Manipulate 2022

Manipulate, Puppet Animation Scotland's festival of visual theatre, puppetry and animation, is back. The 2022 edition of the festival brings together artists and companies from 15 countries across Europe, North America, Africa and Asia, in a programme of live performance, installations, film screenings and events.

Manipulate highlights

Among the early picks from the programme is a punk-inspired double bill by dance artist Suzi Cunningham – EIDOS is a tribute to Cunningham's grandmother, while Rules to Live By is inspired by Cunningham's teenage idol, The Fall frontman Mark E. Smith. Dance company Thick & Tight's variety show Short & Sweet promises a mix of dance, drag, lip-syncing and satire, while EAT ME by female-led theatre collective Snap-Elastic is a "luscious, incendiary theatre show about unconventional love, chaos, control and the shifting complexities of power."

Physical theatre artist Lewis Sherlock and writer Ali Maloney present After Metamorphosis, a dramatic reworking of Kafka's classic that borrows elements of micro-cinema, physical theatre, and spoken word burlesque. Edinburgh-born artist and performer Sadiq Ali presents his first-full length show The Chosen Haram, dealing with themes of addiction, connection, faith and sexuality, while Jean Daniel Broussé (JD) explores themes of family and queer culture and sexuality in his performance (Le) Pain, about growing up queer in a boulangerie in the south of France.

Animation, new work

Animated Women: Aaronimation includes a compilation of seven short experimental animated films by legendary American artist and animator Jane Aaron, exploring her handmade production tools and techniques and offering a snapshot of a bygone era in filmmaking. Manipulate also features a programme of animated films put together by Edinburgh Short Film Festival, all of which will be available to stream online throughout the festival.

For fans of brand new work, Manipulate's SNAPSHOTS programme presents new work-in-progress from five Scottish artists across theatre, dance and puppetry, while a further three pieces of work-in-progress courtesy of SURGE's bursary programme also feature.

Augmented reality, art installations and dinner theatre

One of the early highlights from the Manipulate programme is Dinner with..., which combines a two-course meal in Summerhall's gallery bar with performances by clown and bouffon collective LARDS and physical theatre company Plutot La Vie. In a slightly more artistic vein is Netwalk (puppetry) – aiming to bring together artists, producers and enthusiasts, it's an opportunity to meet other puppet-minded people for a walk around the Meadows with a member of the Puppet Animation Scotland team.

Also to be found on the Meadows is Forest VIDEOLAB, a series of site-specific video projections with original soundscapes, led by Scotland-based video artist Mettje Hunneman. It's just one piece of an installation programme that includes a pair of augmented reality digital experiences from French duo Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne. Acqua Alta invites audiences to look through a tablet or a smartphone to discover the story of a woman, a man and a house, tracing the odyssey of those involved; FAUNA is an AR treasure hunt that follows a path via ten large-format outdoor posters. 

Announcing the programme, Puppet Animation Scotland Director Dawn Taylor said: "As we progress through to this next phase of the global pandemic, it’s clear that artists are interested in questioning the status quo and asking big questions about the society we are part of and each of our place within it. Questions of identity, climate, global unrest and the contract between individual and collective resonate through the work and in our conversations around it.

"MANIPULATE 2022 is a moment for audiences, artists and industry to come back together for moments of escapism and joy as well as provocation and challenge."

Manipulate 2022 takes place at Summerhall and Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, 22 Jan to 5 Feb; check out the full programme at