What We Do

Creative Fund

Puppet Animation Scotland offers a range of practical schemes to assist the continuous skills development and nurturing of professional practitioners. The Creative Fund offers artists funding to explore a new creative idea or seek out professional development opportunities.

All Scottish based artists can apply to the Creative Fund to explore elements of their creative and technical working practices which relate to puppetry, object manipulation, visual theatre and animated film. With each successful applicant, we will create a customised plan that offers them the clearest path to achieve their aims and objectives.

Olivier Ducas - Seed of a City Workshop - Tue 31 January 2017 - Dance Base, Edinburgh (photographer Andy Catlin • www.andycatlin.com) -2160

Creative Fund 2017-2018

The Creative Fund deadline for 2017 has now passed. We will announce the successful candidates in the coming weeks. Thank you to all of the applicants who submitted an application form.

Creative Fund 2016-2017

In 2016, the fund totalled £14,000 and we were able to award the following artists:

Case Studies

Caitlin Skinner – At a Stretch, 2015

The Creative Funded supported a research and development process in a new visual theatre show for young people At a Stretch.

The piece combined physical theatre, clown and object theatre to create a playful, non-verbal show which explored the complexity of human relationships and in particular same sex relationships. The show will explore how relationships form, bonds are made and how these ties develop over time. The piece will look at the internal and external forces that might put pressure on relationships and how difference can make things even more complicated. At A Stretch will be a story of overcoming adversity in the name of love.

During the development of At A Stretch the team explored the use of wordless storytelling and imaginative design to create an innovative and engaging piece of work.


Ainslie Henderson – Stems, 2014

The 5 months of dedicated time that the puppet animation grant has afforded me have been deeply rewarding.

All the projects that I have undertaken in the 3 years since leaving art school have either been commissions, or schemes set up with tight deadlines and objectives. While I enjoy those challenges, I’ve longed for space to explore, experiment, wonder and remind myself how to play. I think in our hyper productive society this is a mode of being that is typically, hugely undervalued. In the run up to being awarded the grant I was tired, worn out and beginning to lose my passion for creating. Knowing that my studio rent was taken care of, and that a piece of finished work, fitting a specific brief was not expected of me I began attempting to adjust my relationship with what it means to be creative.


While it turns out I’m not able to completely abandon desire for a tangible outcome, I did discover a slower, more considered, intuitive way of working that I feel is reflected in the finished film. Stems, the film the grant allowed me to make, captures a little of it’s own process and the atmosphere I’m grateful to have worked in. At only 2 minutes 30 seconds, there’s a very concentrated magic in the film, that I suspect, and hope, will be appreciated at animation festivals. While this keeps me in the public eye and furthers my career, the most important gain the last five months have brought is a renewed sense of curiosity and passion for the art of animated filmmaking. I am deeply grateful to Puppet Animation Scotland for the experience.

Tortoise in a Nutshell – Fisk, 2014

Our company, Tortoise in a Nutshell is a multi-award winning visual theatre company. Since forming in 2010 we have performed throughout the UK and all over the world. Puppet Animation Scotland’s Creative Fund has been absolutely instrumental to our success.  The fund has given us time and space to explore tiny flashes of ideas. It allows us to test and experiment, refine those ideas into something. It has allowed us to see what was working and what wasn’t.

The freedom of a fund purely for early ideas means we really can experiment. This freedom has allowed us to explore early ideas that have since turned into our most successful productions.  Total Theatre and Arches Brick nominated, Grit; the Fringe First winning and Made in Scotland showcased, Feral and Imaginate commission, the critically acclaimed, The Lost Things have all started life as that tiny idea that has been developed through the Creative Fund.

The fund has allowed us as we have embarked on each new production to become more ambitious artistically and strategically. It has allowed us to develop small sharings of our ideas with venues and producers that has in turn lead to new partnerships. These co-producing partnerships has allowed us to professionalize and develop from a small company run out of our bedrooms and garden sheds to an organisation that has been showcased at some of the worlds greatest festivals, including being part of Puppet animation Scotland’s manipulate Festival 2017.


Ailie Finlay – All the Little Birds, 2014

In 2013 I applied to the Creative Fund for funds to help with the development of a production for people with complex additional needs. Over the next two years (a bit longer than originally intended!) I developed All the Little Birds. I have been performing the piece regularly since then in Special Schools, care settings and arts venues.

All the Little Birds - Flotsam & Jetsam Puppets & Stories - Sat 19 March 2016 -0346 (photographer - Andy Catlin www.andycatlin.com)

All the Little Birds is a small-scale work with a very simple narrative about birds during the changing seasons. The performer moves amongst the small audience with puppets and props. All the props and puppets are multi-sensory and incorporate interesting sounds, textures and smells. The performance is designed so that the performer can be as flexible and responsive as possible to audience members.
The funding from Puppet Animation Scotland allowed me the time necessary to develop All the Little Birds and the chance to collaborate with others whilst doing so. In spite of the simplicity of the piece, the processes of planning, experimenting and collaborating involved in its development were lengthy. My prospective audiences included people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and multiple sensory impairments. Their experience of the world was very different from my own; this meant that I needed to give a lot of thought to the initial development of the piece. As this process continued there was also a lot of trial and error involved in finding out what the audience found truly interesting and engaging.

At this stage I collaborated closely with teaching staff at Braidwood Special School. I also worked with Ruth Bailey, theatrical prop-maker and Francisca Morton and Elspeth Murray gave me guidance and acted as ‘outside eyes’ on the project.

People with complex additional needs can find themselves very marginalised in our society. It can be extremely difficult for them to access mainstream theatrical performances. For this reason I think that it is important that work such as All the Little Birds gets produced. I am very grateful to Puppet Animation Scotland for recognising the importance of this kind of work and supporting its development.

All the Little Birds - Flotsam & Jetsam Puppets & Stories - Sat 19 March 2016 -0301 (photographer - Andy Catlin www.andycatlin.com)

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