Archive for the 'Free downloads' Category

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

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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

26
Jan
11

Toy Theatre is over Two Hundred years old!

 

Early in 1811 William West, a London print seller, published a sheet showing eight characters from the popular pantomime, “Harlequin and Mother Goose”. The print was in the style of children’s lottery prints, each figure being drawn inside a box with a caption underneath. It is now believed that the plate was engraved for William West by John Green who later claimed to have been “The original inventor”. Green did not draw the figures but copied them from various sources.

The publication appears to have been an outstanding success, 5000 copies were sold immediately. West followed this with the publication of similar souvenir sheets in two or three plates covering at least 21 other plays during 1811. The “box” style was quickly abandoned.

West was not alone. Two lady print sellers, Mrs. Jameson of Duke’s Court off Bow Street and Mrs.Hebberd of Marylebone each published similar souvenir sheets during 1811. In all we know of 35 publications that year covering 30 separate play titles.

A year later stage fronts, wooden stages and scenery made their appearance and the Toy Theatre, as we know it, began. The events of 1811 were however the origin.

Here are copies of typical 1811 sheets for you to download.

“Harlequin and Mother Goose” is the original sheet engraved by Green and published by West. It is the “missing link” between children’ lottery prints and the Toy Theatre.

“Council of Ten” is an example of one of the earliest West publications. It shows the principal characters in that play, which was also known as the, “Lake of the Grotto,” performed on and around the water tank at the Sadlers Wells Theatre. Notice that two characters appear to float on small rafts! The two sheets of this play were copied and republished by George Skelt and these are reproduced here.

West original

Council of Ten

22
Jun
10

green’s characters and scenes

The latest in our series of information sheets (No.4) gives details about the publications of J.K.Green. There is a list of all his plays showing how many plates of characters, scenes, wings etc., a list of the wings series with descriptions and other details. It is something of great use to collectors and we are the only people publishing this type of list. Hugo Brown, who is a descendent of Mr.Green himself, has provided much of the information and checked it. We are very grateful to him.

The document can be downloaded here Green.