Puppet Animation Scotland’s annual MANIPULATE Festival returns to Norwich Puppet Theatre in February 2020, bringing with it a fantastic programme of diverse and exciting shows and events for adult audiences. From hand shadowgraphy to avant-garde puppetry and adult fairy tales, the Festival offers Norwich audiences a rare opportunity to experience some grown-up puppetry and related artforms in the magical setting of Norwich Puppet Theatre.

Opening the festival in Norwich are experimental visual artists Samolœt, with their intriguing and emotionally powerful work AFTER CHEKOV. Acclaimed at leading festivals throughout Europe, this performance follows three sisters through their dream-like existence in an eternal present. The production has been described as both ‘familiar and indescribable’, and under the direction of Anna Ivanova, the Franco-Russian company has created a dialogue-free performance which instead focuses on sound, movement and the interplay between objects and the three actresses.

Mid-week, there are two opportunities to catch internationally acclaimed and imaginative hand shadowgrapher Drew Colby. Based on the idea that hand shadows are likely to be the oldest form of puppetry, Drew’s show, Cinema in Silhouette takes audiences on an amusing and highly skilled journey from the age of cave dwellers to the present day. The solo performance contains elements of stand-up comedy, gentle political satire and a long list of shadows that can be made with two hands.

The programme of shows is completed with Edinburgh Festival sell-out show Great Grimm, a co-production from Box Tale Soup and Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham. Great Grimm is an engrossing storytelling experience for adults, celebrating some of the lesser-known fairy tales, and with plenty of the more grim details left in. Enjoy horrible, hilarious, weird and wicked stories, expertly told through performance, puppetry, mask and song.

Communications Officer Fiona Fletcher describes the appeal of the festival – “MANIPULATE is an exciting opportunity for us to focus on our adult audiences. There really is something for everyone at this year’s festival, with each performance showcasing very different skills in manipulation, from Colby’s physical hand manipulations to Samolœt’s powerful imagery and Box Tale Soup’s gripping storytelling.”

Manipulate Festival is running from Sat 1 – Sat 8 Feb 2020. For tickets and more information, please visit www.puppettheatre.co.uk or phone 01603 629921.

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