'Each Peach Pear Plum''Puppet Animation Festival
'Each Peach Pear Plum''Puppet Animation Festival

WHEN it comes to looking for something to do with the kids in the Easter holidays, Puppet Animation Scotland have come up with a winner.

The Edinburgh-based organisation are once again staging the Puppet Animation Festival, with performances for young people taking place at venues across Scotland, including here in Fife.

'Steadfast Tin Soldier''Puppet Animation Festival

'Steadfast Tin Soldier''Puppet Animation Festival

Over the next week, seven productions come to four of the Kingdom’s theatre venues and will feature the work of Scottish and international theatre companies.

Simon Hart, the festival’s artistic director, explained: “We have got about 150 performances - puppet performances and animation workshops - running in about 60 different venues across Scotland.

“It’s mainly Scottish companies, but we have English companies and one from Germany and one from Slovenia.

“The festival is now in its 29th year.

“It originally started in Edinburgh at the Netherbow, and it’s gradually grown.”

The festival, began last Saturday and runs until April 13, although the performances in Fife run from April 1 to 6.

“It provides high quality, professional puppetry performances for children and supports the Scottish puppet industry,” continued Simon.

“In the whole of Scotland we’ll perform to over 20,000 people a year.

“The festival is a bit of a showcase for the work of companies.

“What we do is we find out what companies have to offer and then we offer that information to the venues we usually work with.

“They choose which shows are most appropriate to their audiences, so individual venues have ownership of the performances and workshops that come to their area.

“I think that’s one reason why it has survived and prospered for so long.”

Among those performances taking place in Fife is something for children of all ages, covering a range of topics and stories, including variations of some the family may already know.

Simon told the Press: “It’s always a strong programme, but I’m particularly pleased to have the German company and the Slovenian company, who between them are performing 15 times across Scotland and I think we always have the best English companies coming up.

“It’s always a very good taste of sorts of things puppeteers are creating for children in the UK.

“We have a really good mix in the whole programme, and a good mix coming to Fife.”

Kicking off the festival in Fife is a new version of a classic tale at Rothes Halls, Glenrothes on April 1.

Clydebuilt Puppet Theatre’s ‘Rapunzel’ is the tale of the beautiful girl locked up in a castle awaiting her prince to come and rescue her. A frog tells the tale and there’s a wonderful mix of puppetry and music.

The following day, Slovenian company, Puppet Theatre Maribor, bring to life the adventures of Shlemiel in ‘When Shlemiel Went to Warsaw’.

It’s the story of his quest to reach the brigh lights of Warsaw, but will his dreams come true, or is there no place like home?

Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall is the venue for ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’ on April 3.

The production, adapted from the popular children’s book, features music and nursery rhyme as we follow the characters through the meadow to Mother Hubbard’s for some Plum Pie.

In ‘The Magic Horse’ - at Rothes Halls on April 4 - Fingal’s horse is replaced with a magic one.

He’s led to a prince, and then to a princess and many a quest is encountered along the way.

But, who will marry the princess? Fingal or the prince?

This production is performed by Yugen Puppet Company, using a story from our rich heritage of Scottish traditional tales.

German company, Thalias Kompagnons, bring their tale of ‘The Steadfast Tin Soldier’ to Glenrothes.

A fairy tale painter sketches a large nursery, decorating it with wonderous toys and figures. See and hear this story of a faithful soldier and his adventures at Rothes Halls on April 5.

That same day, ‘Celeste’s Circus’ will perform to a sell-out audience at the Lochgelly Centre. It features an endearing cast of circus characters that emerge from a giant pop-up book.

The last of the Fife performances at the festival this year comes in the shape of ‘Willie the Wicked Wolf’, who will be appearing at Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy on April 6.

Willie is an outrageous but loveable rogue who loves food, motorbikes and rock ‘n’ roll.

This piece of theatre follows the hilarious adventures of Willie as he plans to eat Granny and Red Riding Hood...if he can only get his motorbike to work.

Full details of performances can be found at www.onfife.com.