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PREVIEW – manipulate Visual Theatre Festival, 30 Jan – 4 Feb

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Hamletmachine

Hamletmachine

The first of Edinburgh’s arts & culture festivals of 2012, manipulate will see The Traverse Theatre filled with the best in cutting-edge puppetry, animation and visual theatre for 6 days from 30 January.

Presented by Puppet Animation Scotland, manipulate enters its fifth year in 2012, with performers from France, Austria, Russia, Germany and more taking part in the celebration of visual innovation and avant-garde theatre.

The festival opens with Compagnie Sans Soucis’ performance of Heiner Muller’s Hamletmachine, combining video and puppetry to condense Shakespeare’s tale into a nine-page script exploring political and social themes.

Sound, mime, improvisation and film are mashed up in Polaris, from Czech Republic’s Wariot Ideal, which tells the tale of two stranded Antarctic explorers. Snapshots present Creation & Play, which pairs Scottish puppeteers with theatre directors, resulting in three 10-minute pieces of visual theatre.

Akhe Engineering Theatre from St Petersburg live up to their name by using lasers, handmade contraptions and shadow theatre to conjure up a series of comic images in Gobo. Digital Glossary.

And the festival is brought to a close with the satirical puppetry of Pangolin’s Teatime, who present a topical and up-to-the-minute sketch show The Return of the Great Puppet Horn.

As well as the performances, two other threads run through manipulate in the form of an animated film programme curated by Susie Wilson; and a puppetry and movement masterclass from Germany’s Figurentheater Tübingen, which runs for the duration of the festival.

Proving that innovation in theatre is alive and well – and that puppets aren’t just for children – manipulate promises to be a visual treat at the Traverse.


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