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

MANIPULATE FESTIVAL

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.

Image: Puppet Animation Festival 2019, PIED PIPER Norwich Puppet Theatre

PUPPET ANIMATION FESTIVAL

How we programme   We issue a callout every year for puppetry/visual theatre works for families which are available to tour the following Spring. From those who apply, we select 10-15 productions, and prepare a promoters pack with artistic, fee and technical details of all the shows. This pack is issued to over 150 venues across the country, and venues are invited to book whichever shows they wish. No bookings are made directly by Puppet Animation Scotland, and therefore in the unlikely event that a show receives no bookings, they will unfortunately not be able to participate in the festival. We aim for at least 3 bookings for each show but many companies are much busier than this.

What we are looking for  Pieces which work best at the festival are usually small-scale with fewer than 5 cast and relatively adaptable to different venues and spaces. The venues that we work with range from fully equipped studios in major theatres to rural village halls with a flat floor and overhead lights. 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 £600. Any work which is visually led or heavily features puppetry, and aims at families is ideal for this festival.

Timeline   The callout from Puppet Animation Scotland is usually issued in early Summer and decisions are made within 2 weeks of applications closing. Venues are sent the promoter pack in September, and if by mid-December a show has no bookings we will usually mutually decide to withdraw the work. The Festival runs from March into April over three weeks at Easter.

How to begin a dialogue with us   We do programme work at the festival 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.

Please note that following extensive consultation with artists and venues, there may be a change to this process following the 2022 Festival. Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest updates.

REACTIVE PROJECTS

We often respond to opportunities which have been brought to us through partners or in response to a particular funding opportunity, through which there are other platforms for artists to present work. If you are an organisation or individual who would like to collaborate with Puppet Animation Scotland or if you have a proposal for a performance or screening project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Past Project: Festival Mondial des Théâtres De Marionnettes, Charleville-Mézières, France, 2019

We supported Scottish-based company Swallow the Sea to take its caravan theatre to the world’s oldest and most prestigious puppetry festival in northern France. Founded in 1962, this twelve days, biennial event presents over 500 performances created by more than 200 international companies and artists for audiences of more than 150,000 people, as well as an incredibly wide range professional workshops, exhibitions, talks, industry seminars and networking events.

The Swallow the Sea caravan hosted a dynamic and diverse Scottish showcase of puppetry. Seven puppeteers presented six short pieces in repertory with great success throughout the festival. As well as enjoying a valuable opportunity to perform their work, these artists gained great creative inspiration from the wide range of productions they were able to see, as well as engage with a global puppetry community and forge connections with fellow international artists and programmers.

 

Image: 2019 SWALLOW THE SEA CARAVAN THEATRE. Credit: Mayanne Soret

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