Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Big Man puppet wins arts funding

Teaser image from Big Man Walking project
A teaser image from the Big Man Walking project

Eleven arts projects including one to create a giant puppet and another involving skateboarding have won a slice of 3m in funding grants.

The Scottish Arts Council distributed the National Lottery-funded grants.

Edinburgh's Puppet Animation Festival and Puppet Lab are to put their 450,000 award towards its Big Man Walking venture.

It will see the creation of a 25ft puppet beaming images to the internet from a camera in one eye.

Called Inspire Fund projects, the other schemes to benefit are based in Shetland, Inverness, Dundee, Stirling and Glasgow.

I am particularly excited about the use of technology in many of these projects
Michael Russell
Culture Minister

Iain Munro, co-director of arts at the Scottish Arts Council, said the money was supporting a wide range of ideas.

He said: "The imagination involved in them is testament to the fertile arts sector that exists in Scotland today.

"Each of these unique projects will contribute a distinctive programme for long-lasting participation in the arts for those who take part, stirring their creative imaginations for years to come."

Culture Minister Michael Russell described the projects as innovative and said they would make arts accessible to communities.

He added: "I am particularly excited about the use of technology in many of these projects and the potential to reach new audiences and inspire new generations to be creative."

Puppet Lab's Symon Macintyre said the look of the Big Man was being kept under wraps until later this year when it will stride through the streets of Kirkcaldy, Alloa, Greenock and the Isle of Bute.

Tap dancer
The Eden Court project could see tap dancers suspended by cranes

Until then, communities will be encouraged to come up with their own versions of his appearance.

Mr Macintyre, who is originally from Nairn in the Highlands, said it was hoped that one of its eyes would be a camera and the images would be downloaded to the internet.

He said: "People will be asked to show the giant what they are proud of in their communities."

The idea came in part from previous puppetry spectacles such as a giant spider that stalked the streets of Liverpool last year.

In Inverness, Eden Court has received 475,000 towards the 631,750 total cost of a dance project that it said would be staged on water at sites such as Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms, Neptune's Staircase on the Caledonian Canal in Fort William and Lybster Harbour in Caithness.

Judith Aitken, of Eden Court, said the dancing could take the form of choreographed water craft and tap dancers suspended by cranes just above the surface of the sea.

Arts Extreme - a partnership between Aberdeen City Council and Transition Extreme - will seek to involve people in sports such as climbing or skateboarding to create a "large-scale, site specific spectacle".

The other projects are Shetland Arts Development Agency's Mirrie Dancers, Ankur Arts in Glasgow, the Gaelic language Fruitmarket Gallery project in Skye and Edinburgh, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art's Nine Trades of Dundee, macrobert in Stirling and three nationwide projects.

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