Monday, August 29, 2005


Why do you like toy theatre? What are your memories? Tell us...

NOTE: Click on COMMENTS at the end of this post will let you type in your responses

Monday, August 22, 2005

"Webber Brothers present..."

Around 1959, Andrew Lloyd Webber published his first composition - "The Toy Theatre Suite".

Upon doing a little research, I found this information behind the choice of subject...
In 1959, Andrew composed from 6 short pieces already existing - the "Toy Theatre Suite" - as opus 1, "The Toy Theatre"; excerpts were published in a British music magazine...Building their own toy theatre, Andrew wrote and directed, while his brother Julian moved, under Andrew's direction, the characters. Andrew at the same time, played music written by him. His love for the theatre was stimulated by his Aunt Viola Johnstone Crosby, an actress, who took along the young Andrew regularly to the London theatre's West End...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Toy Theatre Sighting

Now that I am aware of toy theatre, I'm more sensitive to noticing it wherever it may appear.

Today, I was indulging in another passion of mine - comics. I was visiting a website of a favorite author and artist, Bryan Talbot, and discovered he's in the midst of working on a new story entitled "Alice in Sunderland". Within the story - complex and fascinating as his stories always are - is a page showing a child performing with a puppet on a small stage...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Pollock Memories: David Vaughan

For my tenth birthday, seventy years ago, he took me to H.J. Webb's shop in Old Street, where I bought my first set of scenes and characters, for Robin Hood. That shop closed soon afterward, but Benjamin Pollock's shop in Hoxton continued to sell plays published by him. It was the kind of shop that sold licorice and bootlaces, hairpins and stationery, but in the back there were still the lithograph stones from which the sheets were printed, and they were still hand-painted by the Misses Pollock, the late Mr. Pollock's daughters, and sold at the same price of "a penny plain, and twopence coloured."
David Vaughan recalls how his "Uncle Cecil" introduced him to the world of Toy Theatre, and how it has followed him down through his life even to this day. One enthusiast's perspective and insights makes fascinating reading...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Innovative Modern Toy Theatre

The Tiny Ninja Theatre carries on the tradition of bringing great works of the theatre, to the theatre of the small...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Magic of Joseph Hope-Williams

Upon my journey in toy theatre education, I recently stumbled across the site of Joseph Hope-Williams, one of only a handful of people alive who still know the art of creating a tinsel print by hand. I decided I had to have one!

I chose the "Black Brandon" print, placed my order, and anxiously awaited. A mere few weeks later, it recently arrived, and I was amazed! Looking at the back was as interesting as looking at the front. I had no idea, truly, what goes into making such a creation. The time and skill involved, let alone the patience. My hats off to Mr. Hope-Williams, and thank you for sharing your gift of making the past alive in the present...

Saturday, August 06, 2005

For Your Viewing Pleasure...

From Green's "The Silver Palace, or The Golden Poppy", here is an online flash performance of Act One, Act Two, Intermission, and Act Three...


I have been blessed with several mentors since discovering toy theatre. One of them is Gigi Sandberg, who runs an amazing website called the Toy/Model Theatre Information Center. It's chuck full of information for those starting out, for reference purposes, or for finding out contact information if you want to network with fellow enthusiasts.

Gigi and I have been corresponding for the past few weeks, and I thought I'd post a few excerpts from the emails that others might find useful...

Gigi: Here are a couple of tips for you.....I often mount my figures and even my theatres on aluminum (like you can get from some printers for free)....They are more durable, easier to cut the detail with scissors AND I can bend the edges slightly to give a bit of a dimensional quality. While water color is traditional, I use Prismacolor Pencils and a blending pencil and my scenes turn out to look like oil paintings. You can get great unusual effects with layering the colors....and the whole project is so tremendously portable...


Trish: I was able to get sheet aluminum from a local printer, 2 30"x40" sheets - your tip was good! Didn't cost me a cent. I'll be trying the technique out eventually.

Gigi: One quick thought...I use wall paper paste (there is a great new liquidy kind that really holds. Then just use ordinary small scissors to is easier than cardboard...

Trish: So you paste the paper theatre directly onto the sheet metal? Interesting.

What kind of scissors can cut through both the paper and the metal? I would think it would have to be something special to cut through both...?

If I don't want to put the theatre onto a wood frame, how else are the individual pieces 'constructed'? Or is a wood frame essential? Living in an apartment like I do, I don't have a wood shop handy!

Gigi: Try it!!! Just cut a small piece of paper and paste it (flour & water or glue stick might even do for an experiment) on a small piece of your aluminum and cut it out. Actually it is easier to cut through both ...particularly if "detail" is when you are doing the performers etc. I don't have a wood shop either and wouldn't know what to do with it if I did....but I do have a small band saw and some Dremel tools. Plan to get a Dremel scroll saw sometime. I belong to the Miniatures club here and they have good small tools to work with small objects too. You just mostly use your own ingenuity and mess with stuff....that is one reason why your blog where people can exchange "messes" would be so much more valuable than our "enthusiasts" section.

Well, hopefully people find their way here and take advantage of the ability to post comments here to communicate with each other in this forum.

Speaking of which, at the bottom of this entry, you'll see 'Comments' - just click on it (it's a link) and you'll be able to comment on this post, or on toy theatre in general. Feel free to use it any way you wish - comments, questions, suggestions, whatever. You do NOT have to have an account to post - anonymous posts are allowed...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ready, Set...GO!

Sheet aluminum (Check)
Cutting mat (Check)
X-Acto knife (Check)
Magnifying light (Check)
Watercolor markers (Check)
Prismacolor pencils (Check)
PCV glue (Check)
...oh, and...
Character & Theatre sheets (Check)

I think I'm just about ready to try my hand at making a toy theatre. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I love to learn. I'll be back to tell you how things go, and show you the results. Wish me luck, fellow toy theatre enthusiasts!