Fringe Showcase 2019: Puppetry, visual theatre, animated films – What To See in August

With 3,841 shows to choose from (yes, that much!), Edinburgh Festival Fringe can be an overwhelming, albeit exciting, time for theatre lover in the Scottish capital. So where do you go to see great puppetry and visual theatre shows this August? We got you covered. Started in our July 2019 Newsletter, our Fringe Showcase features a listing of puppetry, visual theatre, and animated films, on show at this year’s Fringe. Have a show you want to share with us? Email us!

Puppet Animation Scotland and Swallow The Sea Caravan Theatre present: Swallow The Sea Caravan Theatre, plus Ella Mackay, Mary and David Grieve, and Fiona Oliver-Larkin

Dates: 2 to 25 August 2019 – 11am to 5:15pm (shows of 20 minutes each)
Venue: Summerhall Courtyard (Fringe Venue 26)

Recipients of our Creative Fund 2019-2020, Swallow The Sea will be presenting three short puppetry and visual theatre pieces in the intimacy of their caravan theatre. Partnering with Puppet Animation Scotland, the Caravan Theatre will also see three new short pieces by Scottish-based puppeteers Ella Mackay, Fiona Oliver-Larkin, and Mary and David Grieve.

Read more about each shows.

Full Programme:

Finger Fatale by Ella Mackay: Saturday 3 August at 11pm and 12:30pm, and Sunday 4 August at 15:15pm and 16:35pm

Shadow Bird by Mary and David Grieve: Saturday 3 August at 15:15pm and 16:35pm and Sunday 4 August at 11pm and 12:30pm 2nd :

Twa Pirate Lassies by Fiona Oliver-Larkin: Tuesday 6 August at 15:15pm and 16:45pm, Wednesday 7 August at 11pm and 12:30pm

Up North by Swallow The Sea: Friday 2 August, Monday 5 August, Saturday 10 August,  Wednesday 14 August, Tuesday 20 August, Thursday 22 August, and Saturday 24 August – all day

Journey by Swallow The Sea: Tuesday 6 August at 11pm, 11:45pm, 12:30pm, 13:10pm and 13:55pm, then Friday 9 August, Monday 12 August, Friday 16 August, Sunday 18 August, Wednesday 21 August, Friday 25 August – all day

LAMP by Swallow The Sea: Wednesday 7 August at 15:15pm, 15:55pm, 16:35pm and 17:15pm, then Thursday 8 August, Sunday 11 August, Tuesday 13 August, Thursday 15 August, Saturday 17 August, Monday 19 August,Friday 23 August – all day

Check Swallow The Sea Theatre website for all updates.

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Complicite and Polka Theatre present: I’ll Take You to Mrs Cole!

Dates: 31 July to 26 August 2019 – except 12 August 2019 – at 13:45 pm
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance Beyond (Fringe Venue 33)

It’s 1981 and ska music pulses. Young Ashley creates havoc by getting lost in a wild, imaginative world while Mum longs to return home to Barbados. When Jedi battles and forest adventures go too far, will Mum resort to the scariest threat of all? Accompanied by an original soundtrack and stunning video animation. A Complicité and Polka Theatre Co-Production. Directed by Complicité Associate Catherine Alexander. Based on the book by Nigel Gray and Michael Foreman.

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Turtle Company presents: Joyce

Dates: 31 July to 26 August 2019 at 11:25 am
Venue: Assembly Roxy Central (Fringe Venue 139)

Return to a world where childhood imagination sparks unending curiosity. In this hilarious and heart-warming tale, a father and the family hamster venture into a foreign yet familiar land of a children’s storybook. On their way, they meet a slew of characters, including a stick of dynamite who could explode at any moment, a hard-headed futuristic spacewoman, a daydreaming medieval prince, and a giant that yearns to be small. Complete with puppetry, music and live magic this innovative and imaginative new play is sure to dazzle the whole family.

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Moon Dragon present: Moon Dragon for 5 and Under

Dates: 31 July to 26 August 2019, at 10am
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, The Green (Fringe venue 33)

Bertie the Moon Dragon is having a terrible day! Nothing is as it should be. However, all is not yet lost, as with the help of the audience and some wonderful characters along the way to help him, Bertie can ensure that the night will be saved, and all can return just as it should be. An original preschool production aimed at under 5s.

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Moon Dragon present: Moon Dragon for Under 1s

Dates: 31 July to 26 August 2019, at 10am
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, The Green (Fringe venue 33)

This interactive show, written especially for babies aged one and under, tells the story of Bertie the Moon Dragon who misses his cue to send the Moon up into the night sky. With the help of our young audience, some very chatty owls and the most magnificent unicorn ever to have been seen on the Edinburgh Fringe, can we all pull together to save the night?

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Pocket Epics present: Puppet King Richard II 

Dates: 2 to 14 August 2019, at 1:15pm
VenuePQA Venues @ Riddle’s Court (Fringe venue 277)

Two used actors, recycled utensils, hand-carved Czech puppets, live music and you, the court, bring Shakespeare’s poetic drama of power and abdication to life. Devised and performed by Gregory Gudgeon and Lucas Augustine. Directed by Linda Marlowe.

Book now


A Scottish Opera and Royal & Derngate Theatres present: Fox-tot!

Dates: 2 to 16 August 2019 – except 5, and 12 August 2019 – at 10am and 11:30 am
Venue: The Edinburgh Academy – Magnusson Theatre  (Fringe Venue 70)

Following the success of 2017’s BambinO, composer Lliam Paterson is back with a brand new opera for 12 to 24-month-olds. Fox-tot! is full of imagination – a magical journey of discovery for those taking their first small steps into the big wide world. Set in a woodland world where anything can happen, this engaging mix of music and puppetry is an interactive experience for toddlers and adults to enjoy together.

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Puppet State Theatre Company presents: The Man Who Planted Trees

Dates: 12 to 26 August 2019 – except 19 August 2019 – at 4 pm
Venue: Scottish Storytelling Centre (Fringe Venue 30)

This multi award-winning adaptation of Jean Giono’s classic environmental tale by Puppet State Theatre Company has been touring internationally for the past twelve years, with repeat appearances at the Sydney Opera House and off-Broadway. A unique blend of comedy, puppetry and inspiring storytelling.

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Puppet State Theatre Company presents: JRR Tolkien’s Leaf by Niggle

Dates: 1 to 3 August 2019 at 4 pm

Venue: Scottish Storytelling Centre (Fringe Venue 30)

Puppet State Theatre Company’s acclaimed adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s miniature masterpiece – enchanting storytelling for fantasy fans and phobics alike. Niggle is an artist, struggling to complete a curious painting of a tree but plagued by constant interruptions. Also, Niggle has a journey to make. He doesn’t want to go, but cannot get out of it… a multi-layered story with strange but true tales from the family attic.

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Tatwood Puppets presents: Microbodyssey

Dates: 2 to 12 August 2019, and 14 to 24 August 2019 at 10 am
Venue: The Space @ Surgeons Hall (Fringe Venue 53)

They’re all around us but we cannot see them. Come and discover the extraordinary world of microbes – the invisible organisms that shape our planet.
Join your larger-than-life tour guide Brenda and friendly and forgetful lab assistant Charles as they unearth miniature monsters and curious creatures in hidden worlds much closer than you might think.

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Tatwood Puppets presents: Cabaret of Curiosities

Dates: 3 to 5 August 2019 (except August 6, 13, and 20) at 5:20pm

Venue: The Space @ Surgeons Hall (Fringe Venue 53)

Join the one-eyed magician Count Ocular and friends for a gothic, vaudeville experience in the bizarre world of the Cabaret of Curiosities. In a modern reimagining of the traditional puppet booth show, otherworldly creatures appear in a variety of unique puppetry acts that will amaze, bemuse and entertain. Expect tabletop puppetry, close-up magic, original music, laughter, wonder and mystery in an intimate extravaganza for the whole family.

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Active Inquiry presents: Home, a triple bill

Dates: 9 to 10 August 2019 and 16 yo 17 August 2019 at 16 pm
Venue: Just Festival at St John’s (Fringe Venue 127)

At Home. Oya has to leave. Jessica puts one more thing on credit. Paul reaches for his son. Ryan hears his landlord’s key in the lock. Gregor watches the letterbox. Home is 3 new plays devised and performed by people with lived experience. Questioning what Home means to each of us, we ask how Home can be safe and secure for everyone.

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I Piano

Dates: 7 to 11 August 2019 at 3 pm
Venue: Pianodrome at the Pitt (Fringe Venue 391)

I Piano is a new music theatre show for kids (ages 4+) that freely interweaves drama with virtuoso piano playing, and spell-binding shadow puppetry with audience interaction. In this one-of-a-kind venue the piano and the little girl set off on their quest, searching from the North Pole to the bottom of the sea. They meet dancing dinos and monks on scooters, and explore everything from Beethoven to boogie-woogie.

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Karl Jay-Lewin and Matteo Fargion present: Extremely Pedestrian Chorales

Dates: 20 to 24 August 2019 at 8:30pm 
Venue: Bruford at Summerhall (Fringe Venue 26)

The commonplace experience and movement language of the pedestrian as an act of beauty, meaning and gentle comedy. Based on the sublime harmonies of JS Bach’s famous Chorales, it pitches them into our present day lives with just a dash of punk-ish irreverence.

Book now


Lastly, puppeteer Elspeth Chapman will be taking new puppet Carmen, made at Puppets in Prague this June, around the city centre during Fringe.

Expect to see the pair on the dates below:

St Giles Cathedral 
2 August 2019 at 13:15 pm
14 August 2019 at 12:15 pm
26 August 2019 at 12:15 pm

Market Street
7 August 2019 at 11:15 pm
9 August 2019 at 12:15 pm
19 August 2019 at 11:15 pm

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