SCOTLAND’S international festival of visual theatre and animated film is set to make its first large-scale, in-person comeback – taking place for the first time in three years.

Manipulate Festival 2023 will hit Edinburgh in February and showcase a variety of “stunning” visual works from a range of local and international artists and creators.

The 16th edition of the Puppet Animation Scotland festival is described by organisers as one of its most ambitious to date.

The festival will offer audiences an array of events across a range of visual artforms, including large-scale illuminated hands which 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.

Dawn Taylor, artistic director and CEO of Puppet Animation Scotland, said there is something for everyone at this year’s festival, whether they’re newcomers or regulars.

“This year is our return to a full live festival for the first time in three years and what we’re aiming to do is get out across the city more to connect with new audiences who maybe didn’t know about the festival before,” Taylor told the Sunday National.

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“People will be able to walk about the streets and see things for free or see things in four different venues across the city.”

Taylor said the festival will dazzle Edinburgh locals with its light shows across the city during the darker months.

She said: “What we are trying to do is to bring a bit of a spark, a bit of excitement, and something different in the middle of the dark winter.

“It’s a dark time with the cost of living crisis and if people want something to make them think, a bit of a challenge, then we’ve got that – but if they just want a bit of escapism and joy we’ve got that too.

“We are trying to create these warm, cosy buildings where you can come in, escape and be enchanted.

“I think all of us can understand the need for that at this time.”

Manipulate Festival 2023 will run from Thursday, February 2 until Sunday, February 12, hosting dozens of events from live performances, installations, workshops, and film screenings.

It will take place in person and online, with shows at Summerhall, The Studio @ Festival Theatre, Traverse Theatre and the Fruitmarket.

The festival will also see a number of free outdoor installations take to the streets of Edinburgh. Tickets can be found at