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Festival coming to Norwich aims to show puppetry is not just for children

PUBLISHED: 14:44 26 December 2017

Norwich Puppet Theatre will be hosting the Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival. Pictured is a scene from Stephen Mottram�s double bill of The Parachute and Watch The Ball.
Photo: Fisher Studios/supplied by Norwich Puppet Theatre

Norwich Puppet Theatre will be hosting the Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival. Pictured is a scene from Stephen Mottram�s double bill of The Parachute and Watch The Ball. Photo: Fisher Studios/supplied by Norwich Puppet Theatre

Fisher Studios/supplied by Norwich Puppet Theatre

A festival aiming to highlight that the art of puppetry is not just for children is returning to Norwich next month.

Norwich Puppet Theatre will be hosting the Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival. Pictured is a scene from Flabbergast Theatre's Boris & Sergey's Vaudevillian Adventure.
Photo: �Richard Davenport/supplied by Norwich Puppet TheatreNorwich Puppet Theatre will be hosting the Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival. Pictured is a scene from Flabbergast Theatre's Boris & Sergey's Vaudevillian Adventure. Photo: �Richard Davenport/supplied by Norwich Puppet Theatre

Norwich Puppet Theatre will be hosting the Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival which starts on January 27.

The event kicks off with Flabbergast Theatre’s Boris ​​and ​Sergey’s ​Vaudevillian ​Adventure on January 27, a show which proved a hit at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and combines riotous exploits, malarkey and mirth.

Another performance highlight is the February 3 double bill of Stephen Mottram’s The Parachute and Watch The Ball which together were previously a sell-out success at the London International Mime Festival. The Parachute is described as a funny and mesmerising tale about youth, love and confronting old age, meanwhile Watch the Ball is a short, magical piece about the suspension of disbelief.

There is also the chance to take part in workshops, including a day-long Bunraku puppetry workshop with Flabbergast Theatre on January 28, a two-day workshop with puppeteer Eric Bass from February 1 to 2, and a six-day puppet-making workshop with John Roberts from February 4 to 9.

Norwich Puppet Theatre will be hosting the Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival. Pictured is a scene from Stephen Mottram�s double bill of The Parachute and Watch The Ball.
Photo: Fisher Studios/supplied by Norwich Puppet TheatreNorwich Puppet Theatre will be hosting the Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival. Pictured is a scene from Stephen Mottram�s double bill of The Parachute and Watch The Ball. Photo: Fisher Studios/supplied by Norwich Puppet Theatre

Fiona Fletcher, from Norwich Puppet Theatre, said: “Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival is a celebration of the capabilities and versatility of puppetry. Both of the shows in this year’s programme are fantastic examples of how skilled puppeteers can make an audience, particularly an adult audience, emotionally invested in their puppets. In The Parachute, for example, Stephen Mottram manages to create emotional depth with what are essentially sticks and ping-pong balls. Boris and Sergey, meanwhile, shows off the potential for puppetry to be outright entertaining; silly, humorous and also a little bit risky.

“We are very lucky to be able to bring together some hugely talented puppeteers for the festival, including Eric Bass, who is coming from America to lead a workshop, as well as John Roberts who will be running one of his famous puppet-carving courses.”

Manipulate is run in association with Puppet Animation Scotland. The shows are recommended for ages 16 and above while the workshops are recommended for ages 18 and above. To book, visit www.puppettheatre.co.uk or call 01603 629921.

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