Photo gallery: Programme of shows revealed for Norwich Puppet Theatre’s Manipulate festival

International arts festival proves puppetry is not just for children

An international arts festival proving puppetry is not just for children is taking place in Norwich next month.

Norwich Puppet Theatre, in Whitefriars, is hosting its second Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival for adults from February 6 until 10.

The five-day event, for which the theatre is joining forces with Puppet Animation Scotland and the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, will see the Norwich venue put on a packed programme of innovative puppetry from across the world as well as feature films and animated shorts.

Joy Haynes, director of the theatre, said this year's programme includes lots of variety with something for everyone, and she especially urged people yet to visit the theatre to come along, try something new, and be inspired by puppetry.

She said: 'I invite you to Norwich Puppet Theatre to discover new territories full of monstrous transformation and wordless eloquence that will unravel the deepest of human emotional experience - come and be prepared to laugh, cry and abandon disbelief.'

Stuffed Puppet, based in The Netherlands, is presenting Schicklgruber, a dark comedy about Hitler's 56th birthday, meanwhile TIP-Connection, a group of theatre artists from Finland, France, Lithuania and Russia, will perform To The End With Love, a show exploring the perils of jealously when a young bride is confronted with her husband's past.

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Paper Cut, by Yael Rasooly from Israel, is a one-woman show about a frustrated secretary escaping into a larger than life world of Hollywood daydreams, while Les Hommes Vides by Invisible Thread Theatre of Animation is a 20 minute charming, eerie and comic performance of slapstick puppetry and object theatre.

The festival's film programme opens with a gala night of film screenings that features animated shorts by students from Norwich University College of the Arts followed by Fast Film, Slow Burn: Uncommon Singularity, a programme of short films from around the world.

Feature films being shown during Manipulate include: Consuming Spirits, which is described as a meticulously constructed tour de force of experimental animation by Chris Sullivan from America; and Big Man Japan, a deadpan, slice-of-life 'mockumentary' by Japanese comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto which satirises reality TV and monster movies.

Also, during the festival there will be a discussion about puppetry called Puppetry Provocation: What is a Puppeteer? and a masterclass about visual theatre and telling stories without words.

The festival is being funded by an Arts Council England grant, and Ms Haynes said the theatre planned to develop the festival further in the future and that she hoped it would become established as a well-known annual event in Norwich's arts calendar attracting people to the city from across the country.

• Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival is from February 6 to 10. For more details of days and times and ticket prices for each event visit

• Do you have a story about the arts in Norwich? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email

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