Scottish Theatre Highlights: February 2024

Manipulate Festival is an early highlight for the theatre scene in Scotland - but there's also great shows to see later in February too

Article by Rho Chung | 01 Feb 2024
  • Plinth

Manipulate Festival is happening early this month in Edinburgh and online. The festival is a celebration of animated film, puppetry, and digital theatre. This year's lineup includes over thirty boundary-pushing pieces, including Plinth (2-3 Feb), produced by Al Seed Productions and Vanishing Point, in partnership with Beacon Arts Centre and Tramway. Plinth is a wordless exploration of the role of statues as artefacts of war, rooted in Greek mythology. 

Compagnie Bakélite brings their 2011 Manipulate hit, L'Amour du Risque (Love of Risk), to Fruitmarket (3 Feb). In the piece, a man awaits a fine dining experience executed by increasingly chaotic robots, resulting in a precarious and entrancing dance.

Compagnie Bakélite will also stage Envahisseurs (Invaders) at Traverse Theatre (4 Feb). Inspired by the science fiction films of the 1950s, Envahisseurs is a dazzling piece of object theatre and puppetry. 

Ad Infinitum's Last Rites will run at The Studio, Festival Theatre (3-4 Feb). In this non-verbal solo show, physical and visual storytelling coalesces with projection and music to tell an intimate story of grief and memory. 

Ragnarok. Credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

In a double-bill at The Studio, Festival Theatre, Althea Young and Nikhita Devi present HOVER / I, Honeypot (6 Feb). HOVER is a duet between a human performer (Young) and a remote-controlled drone. The piece is an innovative interrogation of surveillance and capitalism. In I, Honeypot, Devi explores their intersecting identities through a fusion of dance styles, including Odissi, burlesque, clowning and physical theatre.

Pickled Republic by Ruxy Cantir (followed by a Pickle Party in the bar) comes to the Traverse (9 Feb), bringing with it pickles (presumably), self-reflection and fermented chaos. The piece is billed as a 'surreal theatrical cabaret for adults' – so get your napkins ready. 

Tortoise in a Nutshell and Figurteatret i Nordland's Ragnarok will tour Scotland 3 February to 28 March, including a run at Manipulate Festival on 10 and 11 February. Ancient myth and modern spectacle collide in this retelling of the Norse myth of the same name. 

Beyond Manipulate Festival, Tron Theatre presents Escaped Alone by Caryl Churchill (22 Feb-9 Mar). Directed by Joanna Bowman, this adaptation of Churchill's riveting text turns a neighbourly chat into something much more serious.