MANIPULATE Festival’s 15th anniversary programme for 2022

07 11 2021

28 January - 5 February 2022 

Tickets went on sale at 6pm, Thursday 4 November 2021

Presenting a dynamic programme of live performance, film, installation, workshops and events, and additional content online,  the 15th edition of the award-winning MANIPULATE Festival will run from Friday 28 January until Saturday 5 February 2022 across Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre and Summerhall; bringing together leading Scottish and international artists from 15 countries including Canada, China, Brazil, England, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Latvia, Norway, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain and the USA.

Acclaimed for presenting outstanding visually-led work that engages and challenges audiences, the 2022 edition of the festival will centre its artists and audiences with a curated programme from around the world. The programme will see MANIPULATE favourite artists return, alongside brand-new artists who will present live performances, work in progress, film, immersive installations and industry-focused workshops and events. 

Programming her first live festival since taking up the helm as Puppet Animation Scotland’s Director in 2020, and talking about MANIPULATE Festival, Dawn Taylor said: “We are so thrilled to bring live work back to Scottish audiences in 2022 and also to continue developing the digital programme initiated in 2020. As we progress through to this next phase of the global pandemic, it’s clear that artists are interested in questioning the status quo and asking big questions about the society we are part of and each of our place within it. Questions of identity, climate, global unrest and the contract between individual and collective resonate through the work and in our conversations around it. 

MANIPULATE 2022 follows in the tradition of previous editions, with an emphasis on experimental and energetic visual theatre, this year’s programme demonstrates a clear connection with many of the other festivals across Scotland, in both its innovative approach to curation and the explicit discussion of important contemporary themes. Feminism and queer culture are represented, as well as environmental concerns and mental health. The recent Dance International Glasgow, hosted by Tramway, revealed a similar set of preoccupations, and the historical series of ‘experimental festivals’ led by ARIKA examined the intersections between sexuality and political engagement. While MANIPULATE maintains its international ambitions and inclusion, it also recognises the landscape of contemporary Scottish festival culture.

Dawn Taylor continues: “MANIPULATE 2022 is a moment for audiences, artists and industry to come back together for moments of escapism and joy as well as provocation and challenge. We’ll share spaces, both live and virtual, and engage in dialogue, learn from one another and explore questions about our shared future. That’s why for the first time this year we invite our audiences to connect in new ways, whether walking together or sharing a meal, and we’ll host more open spaces than ever to demystify the work of MANIPULATE and create points of access for emerging artists. We can’t wait to welcome you back.”

Opening with Edinburgh born artist and performer Sadiq Ali’s The Chosen Haram, MANIPULATE begins with a challenging engagement with faith and sexuality. Further exploration of queer culture,  and a side order of breadmaking, comes from Jean Daniel Broussé’s (Le) Pain, while Thick & Tight present Short & Sweet; a modern variety show that mixes dance, drag, lip-syncing and satire.

A new strand of performances,  Dinner with…, invites audiences to a two course meal hosted by Scottish performance artists: LARDS, an ensemble with specialisms in clown, bouffon and character work who celebrate liveness, risk and joy in their work, and Plutot La Vie for an evening of illusion where everything may not be what it seems. 

Exploring themes of power and control are festival favourites Ljubljana Puppet Theatre / Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana who return to MANIPULATE two years after their visit with the extraordinary Open The Owl. An intimate puppet-object miniature exploring power, weakness and control, Moč / The Power draws the audience into a strange, distorted world, asking the question: ‘Who is manipulating who in this work, which plays with varying notions of power and weakness, as well as of public and private?’