Each year we work with a wide range of Scottish-based theatre makers on exciting and dynamic projects and initiatives. As well as developing our own initiatives, we collaborate with individual artists and companies, providing practical help in ways which most effectively support their aims and ambitions.
2019-2020: Cultural Cooperation Québec-UK
This international collaboration between Festival de Casteliers – the leading Canadian puppetry festival based in Montréal – the Edinburgh-based theatre company Magnetic North and Puppet Animation Scotland, with joint financial support from the Quebec and British Councils, utilised the specific expertise of each organisation to create an artists’ and skills exchange programme between our two countries.
Focused around the MANIPULATE Festival and the Festival de Casteliers in early 2020, two leading puppeteers – Glasgow-based Gavin Glover and Montréal-based Flavia Hevia – used intensive workshop residencies in each other’s countries to develop their own projects through the sharing of their respective working practices and creative visions.
Image: 2020 ROUGH MIX by Flavia. Credit: Christian Brault
2019: Festival Mondial des Théâtres De Marionnettes, Charleville-Mézières, France
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
2018: Scotland – Pakistan Puppeteers’ Collaboration & Exchange
We worked with the British Council Scotland as part of a year-long exchange programme to develop useful connections between the Scottish and Pakistan arts and cultural sectors. Scottish-based puppeteer Emma Brierley worked collaboratively with award-winning young Pakistani puppeteer Yamina Peerzada, on the delivery of puppetry workshops at the Women of the World (WOW) Festivals in Perth, Scotland in September, and Karachi, Pakistan in December 2018.
The workshops’ theme, “Women and Girls”, was an appropriate starting point for events programmed during WOW.
Emma and Yamina decided to focus on body image, and work with participants’ responses to and reflections about this subject’s most relevant personal and cultural issues in their respective countries. The work created by teenagers and young adults was added to the active #mybodymyvoice hashtag.
Speaking about the workshop’s impact on participants, Emma noted:
The women taking part had great fun as we made puppets together and then started to use them to explore our attitudes to and relationships with our bodies and celebrate them! Solidarity and celebration are incredible tools in creating, sustaining and supporting communities. One woman initially came to the workshop alone. She made her puppet, was quiet, focused and engaged, then left. Later she came back with her teenage daughter and friend, she wanted them to experience the workshop too. Together we made a space for that family to discuss their bodies in an open and positive way.
This project provided a valuable opportunity for Emma and Yamina to meet the WOW team and begin to explore new collaborations. As a result of the success of these workshops, they hope in future to work together on a new educationally focused show which would tour to schools in Lahore and surrounding areas.
Image: 2018 Emma Brierley & Yamina Peerzada.