Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Retold

Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theater artists bring alive the Nativity as an Immigrant Story...

In my own state of Minnesota here in America, an extraordinary production is underway right now of the age-old Nativity story.  But this version is told in an innovative style - using large-scale puppets and as an immigrant story.

Read, see, and hear more about this, here...

The video above, from a presentation of this same production in 2009, shows a bit of what you would see, as well as clips from behind the scenes...

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Before Neverland

Before there was Neverland, there were the Gardens...

Crowd sourcing has begun for Peter Pan at Kensington Gardens.  The animated film, influenced by toy theatre, shares earlier stories of Peter Pan:
Peter's adventures in Kensington Gardens pre-date those in Neverland. First published in 1906 it's an adaptation of The little White Bird of 1902 which marked Peter Pan's first appearance in print. Peter is a baby who thinks he's a bird and so can fly. He finds himself in the Gardens and makes friends with the birds and fairies who live there. Peter learns to play Pan's pipes and looks after children who become lost in the park. The story predicts many of the elements to be found with Wendy and the Lost Boys...

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Upcoming Special Performance

From the Benjamin Pollocks Toy Shop:  The poster for Peter Baldwin's toy theatre performance next Sunday - tickets still available - you can pay at the door but a reservation is advisable.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Peter Pan Film

A new film is being made which combines the arts of toy theatre, animation, and film.  One of the producers, Steve Arnott, has this to say of a newly released demo trailer:
This is a work in progress, the voice and music are just guide tracks and more scenes will be added. We hope to use a famous Scottish voice for the narrator (so if anyone has David Tennant's email, please forward!) Also, we are open to any offers of funding; the film so far has over 200 supporters and 50 animators working on it. Anyone who contributes will share in the profits. Also, 20% will be going to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, who have given the project their blessing. We are are looking at a release date of either Christmas 2013 or Easter 2014, depending on how things proceed.
If you would like to know more, or help fund the project, please leave a comment, and I will be happy to put you in touch...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pop-up: Circus

The shots below (pardon the flash reflections on some shots - the lighting conditions were less than ideal - are from a reproduction pop-up book published by Penguin Books in 1979. The book - Lothar Meggendorfer's "International Circus", first published in 1887 - also has the name of Rodney Peppe associated with it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dramatis Personae Catalogue No. 110

The new Dramatis Personae catalogue is out.

As usual, I highly recommend you give it a perusal - many toy theatre-related ephemera for sale, prices ranging from the humble to the expensive...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Victoria 4 Albert

A true love story, told in Victoria's own words...
A series of  films incorporating stop motion, toy theatre, etc. have recently released, entitled Victoria 4 Albert.  The films were commissioned to accompany an exhibition currently ongoing at Kensington Palace.  The narration on the films are Queen Victoria's own words, taken from her diaries.  Charming!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Boxcar Fair

A sweet, short story told with puppets and music, featuring automata and puppet maker, Tom Haney.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Top Hat Toy Theater Presents...

David Worobec, a Boston Conservatory student and creator/owner of Top Hat Toy Theater, is the man behind a recent series of adaptions of musicals for the small stage.  In the videos shared here, David performs Rogers & Hammerstein's South Pacific.  David does all the voices and sings all the parts in his production, quite a feat!  As one person recently put it, "David has a terrific operatic voice, and his one man show is definitely unique."

He has had a long love affair with toy theatre; David was a featured performer in Great Small Works' toy theatre festival back in 2003 when he was only 14 years old!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Devil and Mr. Punch

This is NOT your Grandfather's Punch!

A collaboration between UK and US individuals and groups, performances are happening now at the Barbican;  US productions were performed in two locations last year -  Minneapolis in May, and Philadelphia in September; the production evolved as it went along.

Read more about the wonderful people behind the show, including a lovely interview with the director where he talks about the history of Punch.  Also, the Barbican's 'behind the scene' article, "That's the Way to Do it!"

While Punch is normally not performed as a toy theatre production, I have a weakness for the old scroundrel!  I did find at least one play for the small stage for him, by Langdale, however...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Dramatis Personae Catalogue 109

The latest Dramatis Personae catalogue is out!

As always, this amazing quarterly ephemera sale include several vintage juvenile drama-related items of the highest quality.

Several juvenile portraits are being offered, including one by Skelt (1836), two by Fairburn (1835 and 1838), and one by Jameson (1818).

Also in this sale, are some scene sheets, and a German book from 1915 about putting on toy theatre productions.

Please note that Dramatis Personae have a large inventory of items not necessarily in the sale itself.  Take a look at them; I found on a casual look through a few pages, for example, a penny plain portrait by Hodgson, c. 1827...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Poe-Dunk Matchbox Theatre

The mind boggles at the small scale!
Playlab NYC will present Poe-Dunk – A Matchbox Entertainment as a part of the 2012 FRIGID New York Festival.

Kevin performs a matchbox production

Kevin P. Hale, one of the founding members of Playlab NYC, is the creative mind behind these exceedingly small toy theatres.  Kevin has a blog where he explored openly shares his concepts and explorations - it makes pretty interesting reading!

Some characters are performed via matchsticks!

Kevin will be presenting a series of tiny-scaled plays based on the tales of Poe, including one called "The Oval Portrait":
The story was originally published as “Life in Death” and is the shortest of Poe’s stories. It was also the inspiration for Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The actual story of the portrait only takes a single paragraph to tell, and everything else leading up it that story seems like filler. It was precisely because it was Poe's shortest work that I thought it would lend itself well to matchbox treatment.
Despite the tiny scale, color and design abound!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Doctor Parnassus Toy Theatre

I recently began watching the incredible film, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS. I did some research on the film, and lo and behold, someone has made a wee toy theatre kit based on the traveling theatred featured in the film!

Thursday, January 05, 2012