Puppet Animation Festival - Celebrating 30 years of the UK’s largest performing arts event for children

In 2014 between 29th March and 19th April, the Puppet Animation Festival celebrates 30 years of bringing magical family performances, workshops and films from award winning companies, to communities across Scotland; with over 20,000 people enjoying festival events every year.

This year’s programme features creative reimagining’s of classical childhood tales, immersive play with light and sound to delight the under 5s, animated box office hits and chances to create your own puppets and animation.

In 2014 a special programme of events will be presented at The Festival Theatre’s new Studio space in Edinburgh from 14th – 19th April, including a 30th Birthday party with Cinderella.

The Shows

Starting with Storybox Theatre’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier clockwork toys, hand carved puppets, live music and atmospheric lighting bring this story vividly alive (Sat 12 April 2PM The Bleachingfield Centre, 2PM Festival Theatre Edinburgh – The Studio).

On their first visit to Scotland, having delighted audiences in England for many years, Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company present The Little Red Hen. This ingenious adaptation of the early-learning classic story features a host of animal puppets, sing-along songs and madcap comic routines - a treat for the whole family Tues 15 April 2PM Festival Theatre Edinburgh – The Studio).

Norwich Puppet Theatre and Rene Baker present an entertaining and poignant re-telling of the traditional story The Frog and The Princess using a beautiful blend of puppetry and music that will entertain and delight family audiences (Tues 15 April 2PM Brunton Theatre, Wed 16 April 2PM Festival Theatre Edinburgh – The Studio).

Ailie Cohen presents an original co-production with Unicorn, The Secret Life of Suitcases by Lewis Hetherington and Ailie Cohen a magical and wondrous show, where our protagonist Larry’s world gets turned upside down, as he discovers the thrill of adventure and the joy of returning home again (Thurs 17 April 2PM Festival Theatre Edinburgh – The Studio, Sat 19 April 11AM and 2PM Brunton Theatre).

Puppet State Theatre present their beloved show The Man Who Planted Trees a multi-sensory theatrical adaptation of Jean Giono’s environmental classic that tells the inspiring story of a shepherd who plants a forest, acorn by acorn (Fri 18 April 2PM Festival Theatre Edinburgh – The Studio).

Enjoy Shona Reppe’s magical and much loved retelling of Cinderella, followed by cake for afters to celebrate the festival’s 30th Birthday (Sat 19 April 2PM Festival Theatre Edinburgh – The Studio).

Puppet Animation Scotland are delighted to present a very special performance, 3 Colours for 2 – 4 year olds at the Scottish Storytelling Centre during this year’s festival. With the use of projection, light, puppets, music and dance, this immersive performance from Norwich Puppet Theatre and Polka Theatre delights and tickles the imagination of the young (Fri 4 April 1PM and 3PM, Sat 5 April 11AM, 1PM and 3PM, Sun 6 April 11AM, 1PM and 3PM Scottish Storytelling Centre)

A feast of puppetry characters will be appearing at Brunton Theatre and a range of community venues. Meet characters such as the Gingerbread Man in a world made of biscuits, with a dastardly fox and a happy ending presented by Clydebuilt Puppet Theatre (Tues 8 April 11AM Gilmerton Community Centre).

Join Faux Theatre on a charming and engaging first trip for little ones to Celeste's Circus (Mon 7 April 10.30AM Valley Park Community Centre, Mon 7 April 2.30PM WHALE Arts Agency, Sat 12 April 3PM Craigmillar Community Arts).

Garlic Theatre with a blend of physical theatre, humour and technical wizardry, puppets, mime and a dash of real magic tell the classic tale of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (12 April 11AM Haddington Corn Exchange).

Experience the story of two lost souls, Soledad and Eibhleann, who find each other and themselves in My City; told in Spanish, Gaelic and English and accompanied by workshops using recycled materials by new Scottish company Jabuti Theatre (Thurs 10 April 11AM North Edinburgh Arts Centre).

Puppetry, shadows, original music, acting - and occasional face pulling - are used to tell the delightful original story – The Golden Princess - created by one of England’s best known companies Lempen Puppet Theatre Company, who regularly visit the Puppet Animation Festival (Sat 5 April 2PM Prestonpans Community Centre).

Join Oscar the Mouse as his school history lesson about the Incas unexpectedly comes to life, throwing Oscar and a chimp called monkey into a thrilling adventure Oscar and the Lost City of the Incas told through Mousetale Puppets’ characteristic colourful glow- in-the-dark style (Fri 11 April 11AM North Berwick Community Centre).

Ancient Greece comes to life for children as Carolyne and her friendly little dog invite everyone to travel back in time to discover stories of monsters and magic in Adventures From The Odyssey with Puppet Anima (Wed 9 April 1PM Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre).

A Longstanding festival favourite Willie The Wicked Wolf from Over The Top Puppet Company, returns with a riotous Red Riding Hood, a biker Wolf and mechanic Granny, breathing wild new life into traditional seaside booth puppetry (Thurs 10 April 2PM Craigmillar Community Arts).

Roll up, roll up for Albert's Amazing Acrobatic Flea Circus, Sokobauno Puppet Theatre enthrall audiences with inspiring original music, amazing puppetry and ingenious slight of hand Mon 7 April 2PM Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Fri 11 April 11AM WHALE Arts).

The Folding Theatre Puppet Company, present the lively and colourful Two Can Toucan based on the fable by acclaimed children’s author, David McKee (Tues 1 April 11AM and 2PM Carnegie Hall, Sat 5 April 11AM North Edinburgh Arts Centre, Mon 7 April 2PM Longniddry Community Centre, Tues 8 April 2PM Out of the Blue Drill Hall).

Yugen Puppet Company continue to keep traditional Scottish fairy tales alive with Little Princess Goldtree the Scottish version of Snow White, told with hand carved-puppets, shadows and storytelling (Sat 5 April 2.30PM WHALE Arts Agency, Wed 9 April 10.30AM Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Sat 12 April 11AM North Edinburgh Arts Centre).

This year’s programme features a range of workshop opportunities for all ages to delight any budding theatre and animation makers. Using a fabulous array of materials and methods create unique tiny wee puppets and give them a chance to perform in Angus Arts’ Magical Miniature Marvels: Puppet Making workshop (Mon 7 April 10AM Inch Community Centre, Mon 7 April 2PM Craigmillar Community Arts, Tues 8 April 10AM WHALE Arts Agency, Tues 8 April 2PM Gilmerton Community Centre, Wed 9 April 10.30AM North Edinburgh Arts Centre).

Get creative and make characters from bright, colourful, furry, fuzzy and shiny bits and bobs with Puppet-Stew in their Puppet Making Workshops (Thurs 10 April 2PM Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Fri 11 April 10.30AM North Edinburgh Arts Centre, Fri 11 April 1.30PM Inch Community Centre, Sat 12 April 10AM Craigmillar Community Arts, Sat 12 April 2.30PM WHALE Arts Agency).

Fancy trying your hand at animation? Then join our animation workshops with experienced animator and workshop leader Claudine Quinn – Lens on Legs – where you’ll get to use claymation to create original characters in short movies you get to keep and show your friends in Animation Workshop: Mash. Morph. Move! (11AM – 3.30PM each day - Mon 7 & Tues 8 April Craigmillar Community Arts, Wed 9 & Thurs 10 April Gilmerton Community Centre, Fri 11 & Sat 12 April WHALE Arts Agency)

If you fancy adventuring further afield the 2014 festival presents 133 performances, workshops and screenings at venues from the borders to the highlands and Islands of Scotland, with something for all the family to enjoy.