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The Puppet Animation Festival reaches the Borders with five performances in the Easter holidays.

Melrose, Peebles, Selkirk, Carlops and Coldingham host the national festival, which is the UK’s biggest arts event for children.

Starting life as a week-long programme at an Edinburgh arts centre in 1984, the Puppet Animation Festival now covers from the Borders to the Shetland Isles.

Councillor Graham Garvie, Scottish Borders Council executive member for culture, sport and community learning, said: “Last year, over 20,000 people enjoyed these immensely enjoyable events all over Scotland.

“Puppets of all shapes and sizes will descend upon the Borders during the Easter holidays with performances taking place across the region.”

The Eastgate Theatre hosts the first show on Saturday, April 9 (1.30pm) with The Call of the Loonbird, a magical story following the life of one man and a bird of wisdom, accompanied by hypnotic music.

The following day (3pm) Bowhill Theatre hosts Jack, in which internationally acclaimed storyteller and puppeteer Rod Burnett weaves a tall tale of high adventure, enchantment and magic with a Celtic harp and table-top puppets.

Wednesday, April 13 (3pm) is the turn of the Wynd Theatre, Melrose, to take part in the festival, as The Diving Belle arrives.

It is the story of Belle’s cafe, Tom’s lighthouse and a glittering undersea world, told with puppets and a large dollop of ice cream.

The arts event makes a trip to the coast and Coldingham Hall on Friday, April 15 (3pm) for Tamlin, a Scottish account of fairy queens using driftwood puppets, shadow images and a original soundtrack.

Carlops Village Hall is the final destination with Who’s Been Sitting In My Chair on Sunday, April 17 (3pm), described as a “delightful and playful interpretation of a well-known tale with porridge, bears and one-two-three chairs”.

All performances are priced at £5 and more details are available from SBC’s arts development service on 01750 724901 or e-mail