There are lots of opportunities through Puppet Animation Scotland to present your work to audiences, communities, promoters and press. Read on to find out exactly what type of work we’re looking for at our festivals, how and when we make our decisions and how you can become involved.

Image: MANIPULATE Festival 2014, HOTEL DE RIVE Figurentheater Tuebingen


How we programme   MANIPULATE takes place between January and February each year. It is a curated festival which means that there is no formal application or selection process for you to apply to. We build relationships with artists over time by attending performances, screenings or development sharings, by watching videos of work and by meetings in person or through Zoom. After we are confident that a particular piece of work is the right fit for the festival, we will make an invitation to an artist and agree a fee and expenses as required.

What we are looking for   The programming remit of the festival is, broadly, work which is primarily driven by visuals rather than text or work which heavily features one of the artforms we represent – animation, puppetry, visual theatre. Visual theatre includes object theatre, mime, clowning, physical theatre, dance theatre, circus theatre, aerial theatre and more. The key is that the word ‘theatre’ usually appears here; if a work is considered ‘pure’ circus or ‘pure’ dance we are less likely to programme it. On the film side, we do programme some films which are a combination of live action and animation but the animation needs to be a dominant or key feature in the work. We tend to programme more stop motion and hand-drawn animation than VFX however we have links to both of these areas.

Timeline   We start working on a festival programme up to 18 months in advance and have usually locked the lineup down entirely by the end of July each year for the following festival. We announce the programme in late October or early November. Therefore if you’d like to have a work shown at MANIPULATE it’s good to be in conversation with us at least 1 year in advance. Artists who are dependent on funding applications will need to have a funding result by the end of July to appear in the festival the following February.

How to begin a dialogue with us   The first step is to email and introduce yourself and make sure that we know about you and your work. We are always happy to have a conversation with artists to get to know each other. The next key step would be to invite us to attend work that you are sharing – we are a very small team and so we can’t promise to attend everything. However we would strongly recommend also filming your work, even if it is only a single shot recording for archive. In most cases it is far better to see bad footage of a good show than nothing at all. We only have a small number of programming slots each year and have to make really tough choices, and the work has to be just the right fit for our audiences.



Our touring programme supports tour booking and dialogue between venues and artists year round – this replaces our Puppet Animation Festival model which we retired after 39 glorious years. Read more about the touring programme here. 

The process: We will issue a callout twice a year for puppetry/visual theatre works for families. This will take place in August and March annually. From those who apply, the Puppet Animation Scotland panel select 10-15 productions, and prepare a digital promoters pack with artistic, fee and technical details of all the shows. This pack is issued to our venue and community booking networks – reaching over 150 arts centres, spaces and places across the country.  Over the next 6 months, programming combinations and thematic packages will be shared by Puppet Animation Scotland as part of this offer to venues to best promote artists work.

Unlike with Puppet Animation Festival, venues will be able to contact artists directly to make booking enquiries – whilst simultaneously alerting PAS to a booking so we can support follow ups where neccessary.

What we are looking for : Pieces which work best for the network of venues tend to be flexible, small-scale work – with fewer than 5 cast and which are relatively adaptable to different venues and spaces. The venues  range from fully equipped studios in major theatres to rural village halls with a flat floor and overhead lights. We advise a maximum per show fee of £800, however artists should present an accurate fee that is reflective of their costs and the funding they have available. Many of our venue partners have limited budgets as they are not subsidised, and so as a guide we tend not to receive many bookings for any work where the per-show fee is greater than £500-600.  Any work which is visually led or heavily features puppetry, and aimed at families is ideal for our programme.

Timeline:   Callouts will be issued in March and August each year, and decisions made within 1 month. Venues are sent the promoter pack in April for bookings between August of the same year until the following February, and then in October for bookings between March and September the following year.

Bookings outwith this period can be made and we will endeavour to put venues in touch with artists upon receiving enquiries.

Tour producing surgeries – as the new touring programme relies on artists to manage their own bookings with venues we are happy to provide producing support through mentoring with a more experienced touring artist or the staff team at PAS to support you to build your tour.  Please contact us to book a session once your show has been accepted into the programme: [email protected]

Contract Templates – contracting will now be taking place directly between venues and artists – in most instances venues will have their own contract documents that they will provide you with. We are happy to help you review these if you need support. If a venue or community booker does not have a contract document, we’ve created a template that can be used for booking your show which you can download here.

How to begin a dialogue with us   We do programme work by artists whose work is not already known to us, however in this case we would expect you to supply strong supporting materials with video footage and/or reviews. As above, please introduce us to your work as it is staged year-round; it is always helpful to be familiar with your work when we come to putting together the lineup.

Image Credit: Julia Darrouy, In Praise of Shadows 


Captivate is our nationwide communities and partnerships programme, through which we are collaborating with communities in the Outer Hebrides, North Lanarkshire and Edinburgh West for a period of three to five years to deliver a bespoke programme of productions, screenings, workshops and co-creation projects in the areas of puppetry, animation and visual theatre.

Captivate aims to enrich the lives of people from diverse backgrounds across Scotland, through opportunities to see and participate in puppetry, animation and visual theatre in their everyday lives, and to celebrate local communities as places where creativity is thriving. The project is a responsive, multi-year creative conversation between Puppet Animation Scotland, community members, key venue partners and creative artists. Through the project we present high quality arts performance and engagement opportunities in each of the three areas.

We are seeking artists to collaborate with us on the delivery of work through Captivate. We may on occasion issue a call-out for specific projects, but we usually develop conversations with artists more organically and ask that if you have a project which you think would fit with the aims of Captivate, to let us know by dropping us an email to [email protected].

All the work currently programmed through Captivate is targeted at families and young people, with some work having an additional focus on those with communicative barriers to engagement (i.e. D/deaf and HoH, New Scots, some neurodiverse individuals). The kinds of project that we programme include:

Public Participatory Art Projects – mid-scale public artworks, co-created with local marginalised groups and developed in partnership with our nationwide Captivate partners. If you are an artist with an idea for a project, already deliver a project that could work in these settings or would be interested in supporting these types of project (particularly if you are based in our focus communities of Edinburgh West, North Lanarkshire or Uist) then we’d love to hear from you.

Professional Performances with Targeted Engagement – high-quality professional visual theatre for families which usually would tour to only major cultural centres, performed live with wraparound workshop activity to target groups from those listed above.

If you have a show that is touring to our focus areas that could benefit from some engagement development, or you would be interested to add a performance within our partner venues to your tour then get in touch. We are particularly interested in building micro tours and engagement programmes that support creating mulitple opportunities for artists and audiences within a region.

Storytelling and Workshops in Accessible Community Spaces – we will reach under-served audiences by presenting work in community spaces, bringing verbal and nonverbal storytelling and workshops to libraries and community centres, aimed at the youngest children and their families. Many of our projects take place outside of traditional theatre spaces and if you have a small scale performance or workshop that you’d be interested in taking to libraries or community centres, or which can work outdoors, then we’d love to talk to you about opportunities within our focus communities.

New enquiries – We can support visual theatre, animated film, and puppetry artists to research and develop new approaches to community work, specific to communities in the Captivate areas. For example, we are supporting a development week for a new piece of family visual theatre work that seeks to create an equitable experience for hearing and non hearing audiences.

Read more about our work this year and last on the Captivate project pages.

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