Puppet Animation Scotland is happy to announce the following Creative Fund 2019-2020 awards:



A short description from Grid Iron’s Artistic Director, Ben Harrison –

We will work with leading UK puppeteer Gavin Glover, exploring the possibility of puppetry elements in our forthcoming production (2020) STRANGE TALES, based on some Chinese ghost stories by Pu Songling, adapted and directed by Pauline Lockhart and Ben Harrison. In our planning sessions we have already discussed with Gavin how to use puppetry to play with scale, to create monsters, combat scenes with gruesome deaths, and combining puppetry elements with both illusion and projector mapping and video projection. We seek to insert puppetry in the moments where it can achieve effects beyond the scope of human actors, design, illusion or video. We are excited to work with an artist of Gavin’s renown at this early stage of production to interrogate how the puppetry elements could combine with the other stage languages to create a truly multi-layered production using all the theatrical languages available. Gavin and I first met 23 years ago but this is the first opportunity he and I have had to work together.”

Grid Iron has been awarded £4,000 for the development of this piece.

FESTIVAL MONDIAL DES THEATRES DE MARIONNETTES 2019, FRANCE | Swallow the Sea, Mary & David Grieve, Ella Mackay & Fiona Oliver-Larkin

Puppet Animation Scotland is supporting the Scottish company Swallow the Sea, and its plans to present a repertoire of short pieces in the intimate performance space of its customised caravan theatre at the world-renowned Festival Mondial des Theatres de Marionnettes 2019 (20 – 29 September), in northern France.

Swallow the Sea has received a Creative Scotland Open Fund award to enable the company and three guest puppeteers to travel to Charleville and present six short puppetry pieces in repertoire throughout the festival. These pieces will also be presented during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at Summerhall and during the manipulate Visual Theatre Festival 2020:

  • JOURNEY Swallow the Sea – Light, shadow, table-top puppetry, textured images and a live vocal soundscape take us, through the eyes of a young girl, to an underworld of discoveries and transformations
  • LAMP Swallow the Sea – Physical, absurdist, object theatre exploring the transmogrification of two lightshades – Samuel Beckett and Edward Lear’s love-child with a live vocal score
  • TRIPTYCH Swallow the Sea – Abstract playful puppetry with elements of shadow, clowning and object theatre, exploring the inner and outer cosmos.
  • SHADOW BIRD Mary & David Grieve – Rod and shadow puppetry, immersive light-projections and music, telling a melancholic tale of other-worldly adventures and impossible love, taking inspiration from the Tom Waits song Fish and Bird
  • TWA PIRATE LASSIES Fiona Oliver-Larkin – Shadow puppetry, song and storytelling, inspired by the true-life stories of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, women caught up in the lawless, larger than life Caribbean mercantile world of the 17th century
  • FINGER FATALE Ella Mackay – A burlesque inspired ‘hand-tease’, celebrating the fluidity, versatility and down-right sexy movement that a hand can perform. Big bravado with… a small appendage!

Swallow the Sea has been awarded £4,000 for this project.


Dancer and choreographer Robbie Synge will complete an UK-recognised training opportunity to develop further his film and animation expertise. Robbie will use these skills in the development of short film sequences which connect various physical movements and activities of animals, his body and other natural materials, though kinetic, sculptural interactions.

Robbie Synge has been awarded £4,072 for this project.

THE CEREMONY | Tortoise in a Nutshell

Harnessing the success of initial creative exploration to discover how successfully this leading Scottish visual theatre company could work in collaboration with the similarly respected French ensemble Compagnie Aie Aie Aie, together both companies are developing – with a riot of colour, movement, puppetry, flying objects and an anarchic battle of wills – an original concept focusing on the place ceremony, both private and public, plays in all our lives.

Tortoise in a Nutshell has been awarded £3,900 for the development of this piece.


Theatre practitioner Natasha Gore, playwright Will Gore and visual theatre-maker Ross Mackay will work on the initial research and development of a small-scale piece for children about a true story of young boy forced to feel his family home as war engulfs his country.

Natasha Gore has been awarded £2,937 for the development of this piece.

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