Friday, July 17, 2020

Gepetto: Extraordinary Extremities

La MaMa in association with Concrete Temple Theatre and Bridge Street Theatre presents
Geppetto: Extraordinary Extremities

Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 2 PM – 3 PM EDT; to join this live event, go to

We are deeply honored at this time to be able to present a live streamed performance of Geppetto!

Geppetto: Extraordinary Extremities is a tale of resilience, adaptation and ingenuity that tells the story of puppet-maker Geppetto, who is attempting to perform — all by himself for the first time ever — the grand mythical love story of Perseus, who slays a sea monster to save his beloved Andromeda. During the show things begin to go haywire, and Geppetto finds himself desperately improvising to overcome the challenges of performing solo while at the same time scrambling to devise new story lines, new characters, and even new limbs.

Geppetto: Extraordinary Extremities was inspired by a NPR story on Hugh Herr, whose legs were amputated after a climbing accident and who now designs technologically advanced artificial limbs.
“The play focuses on a longing for magic, a wish for a transformative power…A compelling performance, enhanced by haunting cello music…It celebrates human ingenuity.” – New York Times 
“It’s romantic in an old-fashioned way…lovely music…Carlo Adinolfi’s performance is charming.” – New Yorker
We dedicate this performance to anyone who has lost a loved one during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Isolating Together: Virtual Toy Theatre Festival IV

Another night of Toy Theater wonders.
Another colossal event of miniature proportions.

Presented by Great Small Works: John Bell, Trudi Cohen (Cambridge, MA), Jenny Romaine (New York, NY), Stephen Kaplin (Jackson Heights, NY), Roberto Rossi (Red Hook, NY) and Mark Sussman (Montreal, QC) Technical Support: Sarah Goshman

All proceeds from Days #5 and #6 of Isolating Together will go to The Black Puppeteer Empowerment Grant & Creative Research Residency under the leadership of Program Mentor Brad Brewer through an initiative by Puppet Showplace Theater Brookline, MA. Congratulations to the first grantee cohort!


With thanks to the Puppet Slam Network, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, and the Mental Insight Foundation for their generous support.


In Kinship Fellowship: Lilah Akins, Devon Kelley-Yurdin, Emilia Dahlin, Cory Tamler, Jennie Hahn, Tyler Rai (Maine)

Sieglinde and Martin Haase, Haases Papiertheater (Germany)

Maria Camia (Brooklyn, NY)

Honolulu Theatre for Youth (Honolulu, HI)

Houseboat Productions (Baltimore and Cincinnati)

Amelia Castillo (Glover, VT)

Precarious Works, Siena Mayers (Lake Worth, FL)

Paul Zaloom and Lynn Jeffries (Los Angeles, CA)

Kate Brehm (New York, NY)

Kathleen Doyle (Newburypoort, MA) and Christa Haxthausen (Los Angeles, CA)

eliana stinky (Worcester, MA)

Coalfather Industries (NY and Illinois)

Great Small Works/Stephen Kaplin (Jackson Heights, NY)

Patrick Costello (Brooklyn, NY)

Leah Ogawa and John Chao (NYC and Houston)

Elle Love and Caitlin Ross (Glover, VT)

Kalan Sherrard (New York, NY)

Andrea Lomanto (New York, NY)

13 Pratt Theater Company – Rainier Pearl-Styles, Nick Chieffo and Riley Fox Hillyer (Boston, MA)

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Brian Zelznick Does Doll Face as Toy Theatre!

Our newest virtual offering is a charming, zany, 10-minute toy theater show directed by Brian Selznick, writer and illustrator of “The Invention of Hugo Cabaret” and “The Houdini Box,” and the illustrator of the 20th anniversary “Harry Potter” box set. The show is based on the 1994 children’s picture book written by Pam Conrad and illustrated by Selznick.

At the time, the book was a sweet story about a doll who throws herself a party with her friend’s knife, fork, spoon, and plate. 

“Twenty-five years later,” says Selznick, “my friend Jacqui Russell asked me if I would help to turn ‘Doll Face Has a Party!’ into a puppet show.

She thought that children might especially enjoy it during this time of quarantine because Doll Face never leaves her home, throws a party because she is bored and makes friends with the items around her house.

Creative Team:
Directed by Brian Selznick
Based on the Book, "Doll Face Has a Party!"
Text by Pam Conrad / Pictures by Brian Selznick
Produced by Jacqueline Russell
Designed, Built, and Puppeteered by Will Bishop & Grace Needlman
Narrated by James Lecesne
Music by Tuba Skinny
Additional Music by Robin Rapuzzi
Sound Design by Kevin O’Donnell

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Toy Shop Scheduling Changes

Welcome to Benjamin Pollock's virtual shop.

Here are some upcoming dates:

1st - 5th July Miniatures
6th - 10th July Handmade Wooden Toys & Bears
11th - 15th July Puppets & Toy Theatre
16th July - Vintage toy theatre material

From the 17th July we will be opening Friday - Sunday 12 - 6 with virtual appointments available on Thursdays.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Isolating Together: Virtual Toy Theatre Festival III

We're back! Coming again to a personal screen near you!

Another night of Toy Theater wonders.
Another colossal event of miniature proportions.

Presented by Great Small Works: John Bell, Trudi Cohen (Cambridge, MA), Jenny Romaine (New York, NY), Stephen Kaplin (Jackson Heights, NY), Roberto Rossi (Red Hook, NY) and Mark Sussman (Montreal, QC)

With thanks to the Puppet Slam Network, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, and the Mental Insight Foundation for their generous support.

With thanks to the Puppetslam Network, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, and the Mental Insight Foundation for their generous support.


Amanda Card (NYC)

Robert Poulter’s New Model Theatre (London, UK)

Maisie O’Brien (Dallas and Philadelphia)

People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street (Brooklyn, NY)

Felice Amato (Boston, MA)

Alex and Olmsted -- Alex Vernon and Sarah Olmsted Thomas (Takoma Park, MD)

Steph Hill-Wood (Detroit, MI)

Sue Truman, The Crankie Factory (Seattle, WA)

Paradox Teatro Family (Mexico City)

Bénédicte Guillon Verne et Pierre Bérerd of Le Chemin qui Marche (near Québec City)

Edna Bland (Sanford, FL)

Léonie Zikos (Cappadocia, Turkey)

Felicia Cooper (Stafford Springs, CT)

Great Small Works/Roberto Rossi (Red Hook, NY)

Linda Wingerter & Polly Sonic of the Stringpullers Puppet Company (Ithaca, NY)

The Weeping Mary Collective, submitted by Alva Rogers (New York, NY)

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Streaming Event: Jules Verne Adaption


Each weekend, Saturday and Sunday only, you'll be able to see one of legendary productions of the famous marionette company Carlo Colla & Figli of Milan. This weekend, "From the Earth to the Moon", after the novel by Jules Verne, written in 1865, with music from Jacques Offenbach's operetta "Le Voyage dans la lune". Carlo Colla's first marionette production of this show was in 1898.

Only today Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 May will be online "From Earth to the Moon", by the Fondazione Carlo Colla & Figli, which comes from Jules Verne's novel of 1865.

In 1875 composer Jacques Offenbach composed the operetta "Le Voyage dans la Moon" which the show was inspired.

In 1898 Charles II Colla put hand to the lyrics to create a version suitable for puppet representation. The Company worked on making puppets, hand scolding them and making their clothes. The sets were commissioned by Antonio Rovescalli, to be integrated by Ugo Bellio, Achilles Lualdi, scenographers of the Teatro alla Scala, in the early 900. s.

A work of artisan effort that led to the show "From Earth to the Moon", with puppets impersonating Terrestrials and Lunari, achieving a great success.

In 1993 a new version of the show was presented at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, last represented at Piccolo Teatro Grassi at the end of December 2019.

Monday, May 04, 2020

May Fayre Memories Documentary

For 45 years Maggie Pinhorn and Alternative Arts have organised the Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival. In this video Punch and Judy professors, puppeteers, entertainers and puppet builders discuss what makes the day so magical, why people travel from across the globe to attend, and thank Maggie for her unparalleled contribution to British puppetry.

Beverley Puppet (Online) Festival: Back to Nature

The award-winning Beverley Puppet Festival usually fills the streets with excited onlookers. Giant creatures roam around Toll Gavel, Butcher Row and the Flemingate Centre; tiny, magical worlds are revealed to unsuspecting audiences in the Friary Gardens and indoor shows for all ages from 0-103 take place at The Friary, East Riding Theatre, Beverley Masonic Hall and Toll Gavel Church Hall.

The Covid-19 pandemic could have caused cancelling this year's festival; however, it was decided instead to go online. This is a new adventure for the festival team and one that now spans two months instead of just one weekend!

Anna Ingleby and Kerrin Tatman, Founder & Co-Artistic Director / Co-Artistic Director respectively, share:
"The emphasis is on what can be done at home, not on filming finished performances which we would prefer to see live. Three artists’ videos per week have been commissioned, to start appearing from May 18th – July 12th to inspire and invite people of all ages to participate in a diverse range of puppetry-related activities that can be completed at home."
This year's festival theme is BACK TO NATURE to which the  artists will each bring their own unique interpretation and audiences are encouraged to do the same. The original stimulus for this theme is the current climate change crisis. Unless nature is respected, important ecosystems which are needed to support human survival will collapse.

Sounds pretty exciting.  MORE innovative ONLINE solutions to physical world limitations...

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Student Production: Shakespeare Film Adaptation

Anglia Ruskin University's Film & Television program students created this toy theatre trailer recently. They shared with me that, "...We are going to release a very different version very soon!"

I look forward to it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Article: Toy Theatre Thrives Online During Quarantine

Great Small Works, a New York-based performance collective, recently organized the first virtual Toy Theatre Festival, providing an online platform for international artists who responded to an open call. 
And boy, did they respond!  In a matter of just days - sometimes hours - performers from around the world stepped up to volunteer performances in the time of our mutual pandemic quarantines.
John Bell (Great Small Works) hosts the festival with two alternating puppets designed by Isaac Bell. 
The result has been magical!  The first two evenings were last month, and the next two are later this week and early next week.  I invite you to come watch, to join in, LIVE, as amazing small stage productions are streamed out to the world...

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Pollock’s Easter Instagram Exhibition

Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop will be hosting an Easter Instagram Exhibition, posted over the weekend starting at 3:00pm (GMT) Friday 10th April on Instagram @benjamin_pollocks_toyshop

The full exhibition will be posted on Facebook on Easter Monday 13th April

And will also be posted to the Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop website.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Isolating Together: Virtual Toy Theater Festival


*** I s o l a t i n g    T o g e t h e r  ***

Great Small Works' Online Toy Theater Festival

Day 1: Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 7:30 - 9:00pm EDT
Day 2: Friday, April 3, 2020 @ 7:30 - 9:00pm EDT

Toy Theater practitioners from around the world will offer original (very) short shows. From the intimacy of the Victorian parlor to the intimacy of your personal viewing device, puppeteers transform the traditional form to reach out during these days of separation.

Some of the lineup of performers:
Dirk and Barbara Reimers, Papiertheater Polidor (Germany)
Modern Times Theater (East Hardwick, VT)
Great Small Works/Stephen Kaplin (Jackson Heights, NY)
Dan Van Allen (Baltimore, MD)
Dan Hurlin (NYC and Hawley, PA)
Ira Karp and Peter Schumann (Glover, VT)
Katherine Fahey (Baltimore, MD)
Katya Popova (Boston, MA)
Eli Nixon and Ida Marcus (Providence, RI)
Lindsay McCaw (Detroit, MI)
Tianding He, Yiru Chen, Ge Gao, An Hua (NY, NJ and Shanghai)
Laurie McCants (Bloomsburg, PA)
Amelia Castillo (Santiago, Chile, via Glover, VT)
Isabel Bazan and Mauricio Martinez (Mexico City)
Joshua Krugman (Glover, VT)
Kate Brehm (Brooklyn, NY)
Birthe Thiel, Theatre Mont d'Hiver (Germany)
Miss Pussycat and Quintron (New Orleans, LA)
Alissa Hunnicutt (North Hollywood, CA)
Michael and Valerie Nelson (Vallejo, CA)......and many, many more!

Friday, March 06, 2020

The Shackleford Project: Climate Change as Drama

"An entrancing production. For sheer power to haunt the imagination…it’s hard to picture anything surpassing 69°S.” The Boston Globe

Phantom Limb: 69˚S. from EMPAC @ Rensselaer on Vimeo.

“Exquisitely rendered….beautifully constructed.”
Los Angeles Times
"A remarkable achievement of multimedia artistry, the spellbinding 69ºS. is like nothing you've ever seen before.”
“Imagine the laboratory of a Victorian-age mad genius, and you’d probably come up with something like the Tribeca apartment of…Erik Sanko.”
– Village Voice
Phantom Limb Company’s 69 Degrees South may be  first production staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival to require a sojourn in Antarctica to make aural recordings. The company’s principals, set designer Jessica Grindstaff and puppeteer Erik Sanko, received a National Science Foundation Artists and Writers grant to capture the sounds of ice cracking, wind shearing, and feet trudging through the snow—all part of their layered spectacle opening April 28 2020, running through May 3rd.

But 69 Degrees South—which chronicles Ernest Shackleton’s almost doomed 1914 Antarctic expedition—is no National Geographic special: It includes puppets and live dancers, 28-foot-tall moving iceberg sculptures, NASA satellite imagery, and a minimalist score by the Kronos Quartet, along with Sanko’s legendary downtown noise-rock band Skeleton Key creating its own rather maximalist cacophony. “We’re big fans of letting images evoke meaning,” says Grindstaff, who, along with Sanko, hopes to make one of history’s greatest adventures resonate deeply—and wordlessly—for a contemporary audience.