Posted on

Toy Theater

I was in love with the illustration, the story, everything. Through this show I wanted to recreate the experience of listening to my mom read and imagining the book coming to life. I was a very imaginative kid and when I listened to the story and looked at all the pictures I saw the story come to life, almost like a little play. Through this show I wanted to recreate that experience of listening to my mom read and seeing that little play come to life. I wanted to explore different ways a show could fit inside of an Altoids tin.

Fawdry’s grandson Eddie, a photographer, still owns and operates the Toy Museum, which maintains a stock of dozens of toy theatres, including some not available elsewhere that can be printed only on demand. Not long before her death in 1945, Fawdry also established the Pollock’s Toy Museum Trust, which keeps alive the lore of the toy theatre through web sales, library and museum exhibitions, and publications. Adults and children assembled these mass-produced replicas of popular plays at home. They were sold as flat kits that included the script, stage, scenery, characters, and costumes. They were usually printed on a cardboard sheet and sold as DIY kits at the concession stands of opera houses, playhouses, and vaudeville theaters.

With Great Small Works, they investigate folk, puppet, avant-garde and popular theater traditions to address contemporary issues. They have produced 10 international festivals of Toy Theater since 1993, and present regular Spaghetti Dinner cabarets. Stage theater of the early 19th century had been based more on spectacle than on depth of plot or character, and these characteristics lent themselves effectively to the format of toy theater. This trend in stage theater did not make an easy conversion to its toy counterpart, and with the fanciful dramas of 50 years prior being out of fashion, the toy theaters that remained in print fell into obsolescence.

The White Pajamas, a puppet film commissioned for “They called me Mayer July, painted memories of a Jewish childhood in Poland before the Holocaust.” Directed and designed by Jenny Romaine and Meyer Kirshenblatt with Dr. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett . Great Small Works joined forces with new music group Ensemble Pi for the premiere of Eisler on the Go – an animated puppet show on the life and work of German/Jewish composer Hanns Eisler. A production created by John Bell and Trudi Cohen in collaboration with musicians Marji Gere and Daniel Sedgwick, and premiered at Mystic Public housing learning center in Somerville, MA, in 2019. A “Short Entertaining History of Toy Theater” performance by singing professor Dr. John Bell can be found here and a written history, here.

A song, a poem, a location, an anecdote, a political idea, a hero, a news item, what I ate for breakfast, what I saw walking to the post office – there are infinite possibilities. The University of Connecticut is a public research university in the U.S. state of Connecticut. UConn was founded in 1881 and is a Land Grant and Sea Grant college & member of the Space Grant Consortium.

A distinguished architectural historian, he is an impresario as well. On a recent August Sunday, he gathered fifty enthusiasts for a production of “The Waterman,” a romantic drama depicting an annual boat race on the Thames. Powers deployed his own personal theatre for the production, complete with electric footlights, and gave voice to the cutout of Tom Tug, the dashing boatman. The performance took place at the Art Workers Guild in Bloomsbury, which traces its origins to 1884; one past Master was the noted artisan and radical thinker William Morris. A writer discovers the living remains of miniature theatrical productions, which served as the PR campaigns of the day in 19th Century England.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *