Another fabulously creative Bristol festival returns to start conversations about difference and inclusion

Forget what you thought you knew about puppets, because Bristol Festival of Puppetry is returning from 1 – 10 September, to start conversations with audiences and show them how iPads can become hand puppets, that film and animation is a form of puppetry, and that puppets, just like humans, can come in all shapes and sizes, with different abilities.

With events at Watershed, Tobacco Factory Theatres and Puppet Place in Bristol, this year’s line-up of events welcomes artists from all over the globe and will reflect how the world has changed over the past two years since the last festival in 2015.

Bristol Festival of PuppetryYouTube hit Barnaby Dixon’s MicroPuppetry show at Tobacco Factory Theatres on 1 September is a must-see

The programme has been produced by Chris Pirie and Rachel McNally to ensure there is something for everybody, from free events for the curious, who are new to puppetry and wish to give it a try, to workshops for both wannabe and professional puppeteers, and BSL events for people with hearing impairments or other additional needs. “We are so excited to be inviting incredible artists from around the world to Bristol, to showcase the best of UK and local talent, and to stimulate conversations about puppetry in all its unique guises,” say the pair of the events, which will provide an opportunity for everyone in Bristol to celebrate the city’s diverse creative offering and for the producers to reach new communities with their rich programme of live shows, film and free activities – including…

Creatures of Bristol Carnival, 2 September (12pm), North Street

The festival will be kick-started with a free family parade of carnival creatures, giant puppets and live music. A true celebration of Bristol’s creative community spirit.

Meet Fred, 4 September (2pm & 7.30pm), Tobacco Factory

Meet Fred: a two-foot tall puppet who just wants to live a normal life, get a job and find a girlfriend. Instead, he fights prejudice every day, with the threat of losing his PLA (Puppetry Living Allowance) looming on the horizon. This touching, hilarious show is presented as part of Bristol Festival of Puppetry by Hijinx, a theatre group which celebrates diversity by including talented actors with learning disabilities in every show.

Tricyckle, 7 & 8 September (8pm), Tobacco Factory

See a UK premiere from Canada’s Les Sages Fous, inspired by the collectors of Trois-Rivières who travel the city on old tricycles in search of junk. Tricyckle breaks the barriers between high culture and folk art as Les Sages Fous presents a theatre of paradoxes; grotesque and poetic, ritual and mundane, domestic and marvellous. The company recreates a lost world where the mask, the puppet, the object and the human can co-exist. A theatre as surprising and disturbing as it is undisciplined and wild.

Bristol Festival of PuppetrySee the UK premiere of Tricykle, image © Marianne Duval

La Causeuse, 9 & 10 September (8pm), Tobacco Factory

Without a word, a young woman guides her audience through darkly comic and poignant dialogues as she revisits the memories of a sordid and doomed romance. As wandering hands seduce and frolic, she dances and wrestles with her inner demons. A virtuosic piece of physical theatre from Equivoc, at the crossroads of dance, mime, physical and object theatre, focusing on visual performance and choreographic installation, placing movement at the centre of Olivia Lathuillière’s artistic approach.

Yamasong: March of the Hollows, 10 September (6pm), Watershed

An automated girl and tortoise warrior journey with a band of outlaws on an incredible quest. Their one hope is to find a legendary relic to defeat an army and save the creatures of their world. A gorgeous all-puppetry film continues in the epic visual storytelling tradition of The Dark Crystal and is brought to life by an incredible cast including Nathan Fillion, Abigail Breslin and Whoopi Goldberg.

To book tickets and find out more visit bristolfestivalofpuppetry.org