MANIPULATE Festival 2023 Line Up Announced for Its 16th Edition

Edinburgh’s international festival of visual theatre and animated film, MANIPULATE, is a celebration of visual work, with a focus on artworks that breathe life into the inanimate or tell stories primarily through imagery.

The 16th edition of the festival offers a wide range of visual artforms, including large-scale illuminated hands that will roam across the city; intricate live micro-cinema featuring over 2000 miniature animals; an aerial work inspired by lobster fishing and theatre simultaneously performed and livestreamed between Scotland and Argentina.

Alongside a programme of brand-new work for 2023, some elements of the programme are finally coming to the stage after being rescheduled from 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artistic Director and CEO of Puppet Animation Scotland, Dawn Taylor says “We are thrilled that 2023 will see the return of a full MANIPULATE Festival programme for the first time in three years. By expanding across Edinburgh into new venues, the city streets and online, we can reach and connect with new audiences and spark new conversations. We are looking forward to celebrating the sheer magic that puppetry, visual theatre and animation can offer during these challenging times; a spark of hope and light that MANIPULATE has come to represent in the dark of the Scottish winter.

With a more varied palette of artforms than ever, and featuring work which is playful, bold, interrogative and joyful from a dynamic group of visually-driven artists, 2023 promises to be one of our most ambitious programmes to date. We can’t wait to share it with you!”

The wide ranging programme opens with specially commissioned The Dab Hands, a large-scale illuminated puppets created by Fergus Dunnet and Ronan McMahom to usher in the 2023 Festival that will be followed by an Opening Night Party offering exclusive pop-up performances, music and sneak peeks into highlights across the festival.

Highlights of the programme include Raw Material & Vanishing Point who present the World Premiere of Love Beyond (Act of Remembrance),by theatre artist Ramesh Meyyappan, while Edinburgh’s Vision Mechanics present The Fantastic Life of Minnie Rubinski,a part installation and part filmed interactive puppetry show. MANIPULATE returners are Scottish aerial theatre company Paper Doll Militia who bring their World Premiere of Arthropoda.

Workshops throughout the Festival will give an insight into creating your own work with Conceiving Visual Theatrewith Al Seed; Micro Cinema Theatrewith Gavin Glover; and developing your own multi-operator puppetry skill with Mervyn Millar in Working as One.

Add to this clowning; animation; film; fairy tale; dioramas; kinetic sculpture and music along with MANIPULATE favourite Snapshots, and you have an idea of why this nternational festival has the reputation of bringing much needed light to a driech late wintertime.

Consider these delights as an adult treat to relieve any post festive blues!

MANIPULATE runs from 2nd – 12th February 2023 with shows at the Traverse Theatre, Summerhall, The Studio at Festival Theatre, Fruitmarket, online and outside across the city.

Tickets are now on sale at

Irene Brown

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