22
Nov
08

What are Toy Theatres?

titleshop1A Toy Theatre is a miniature stage, built in card or wood and brightly coloured. Children perform plays on it using characters and scenes cut out from printed sheets and text written in a simple “playbook”. The audience would normally be family and friends and the auditorium the front room. Adults too are known to use them, especially the large elaborate versions published in Germany and Denmark.

As well as being a flexible means of expression, the sheets represent a vibrant folk art derived from the full size theatre. It is a unique record of real plays and stage presentations, particularly of the nineteenth century. Many enthusiasts collect and study old sheets for this reason.

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01
Mar
19

Belper Arts Festival

Trevor Griffin will give a presentation on Toy Theatre as part of Belper Arts Festival on Saturday 11th May 2019 at 2.30pm, at the Strutt’s Centre in the town. Full details are available on the Arts Festival website. Entry is free but donations to funds for a local community project would be appreciated. Places are limited to 60 people.

01
Mar
19

Mr.Webb and Mr.Fraser

Dodie Masterman’s son has kindly given me notes that his mother made in 1987 of an interview with Mr.Fraser who had worked in Webb’s Toy Theatre shop in the 1920s. I have made a transcript which you may download.

It talks mainly about tinsel and seems to refer to a photo that has a man, a girl and a dog in it.

Webb and Mr.Fraser

20
Sep
16

A new exhibition

Christ Church Upper Library in Oxford, which houses the F.B.Brady Toy Theatre collection, is currently holding an exhibition from the collection , Monday-Friday 1000-1630 until 7th October. Full details are available here

14
Feb
16

Sale of the century?

If you have $185,000 US to spare you might like to buy a Toy Theatre collection currently for sale on ebay! It is the collection of Herbert Zwiauer, the expert on Trentsensky, who wrote a little book on the subject “Papier Theater” in 1987. The collection is said to contain over 50 theatres of different designs, lots of scenery and figures to perform on them and playbooks and original sheets, over 55,000 items in all! If you go on ebay you will find a mass of photos that give you a good idea of the content. Here is the link:¬†http://www.ebay.com/itm/Worlds-biggest-ANTIQUE-PAPER-THEATRE-PRIVATE-COLLECTION-1825-1940-/272122827680?hash=item3f5bc8d3a0:g:14wAAOSwoydWsQuj

20
Apr
14

Skelt’s Juvenile Drama

waterman

We have been republishing original nineteenth century English Toy Theatre plays under the title of “Skelt’s Juvenile Drama”. The Skelts were one of the most prolific publishers and all these titles derive from their productions. We have stopped selling these and are now making them available as free downloads, the only condition being that you must not make commercial use of them.

Most of these plays are “plain”, which is the way collectors prefer but a few are in colour mainly where the original sheets that we have photographed were coloured.
Wood Daemon
Mary the Maid of the Inn
Der Freischutz internet
Captain Ross
Richard Turpin
George Barnwell
Waterman

Turpin robbing the mail
George Barnwell

20
Apr
14

new toy theatre

We have been publishing Toy Theatre since 1975. The designs are in the old tradition and based on popular titles but are supposed to be easy and fun to perform. They are therefore of value for anyone who wishes to perform Toy Theatre plays to a modern audience, children included. We have stopped selling this material but will gradually modify and add everything here so that you down load it for free. Our only condition being that you must not make commercial use of it. Enjoy!

PLAYS

These plays can be printed out on A4 paper and will fit our Toy Theatres designed to take that size of scene. Most sheets are reproduced in colour but there may be the odd plain sheet that needs colouring by you!

Sleeping Beauty

25
Nov
13

One shop closes, another opens!

As from 31st December 2013 we will stop selling Toy Theatre material via our website through the post. Already we have sold the last of our theatre sets A, B and C. Instead we will launch a new free service whereby you will be able to download and print off all our material, including Skelt reprints, at any time for free. This should be the best available free on-line resource of the British Toy Theatre!

We will sell off our old printed stock via ebay, where you will be able to use PayPal, and at special events.




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