Toy Theatre


Toy Theatre

Toy theatre was popular in Victorian era England. It is related to other arts, including puppetry, printing, and painting/tinselling.

It flourished in the first half of the 19th century, with publishers sending artists to the theatres of Georgian and early-Victorian London to record the scenery, costumes and dramatic attitudes of the greatest successes of the day. A free seat was often provided by the theatre management, as the Toy-Theatre sheets were excellent free advertising. Notable publishers include Webb, Skelt, Redington, Green and Pollock, in a complicated story of succession, marriages and commercial takeovers. Although few new plays were produced after 1850, the toy theatre remained a staple of the nursery until World War I, although Benjamin Pollock was by then the only publisher still in business.

Pollock remained in business until his death in 1937, aged 80. His little shop at 73 Hoxton Street was bombed in World War II and the Toy Theatre would have vanished into history were in not for the efforts of the Speight and Fawdry families who have managed to preserve it into the 21st century, notably through the creation of Pollock's Toy Museum at 1 Scala Street, London, UK.

After the war, the photographer, painter and architect Edwin Smith worked with Pollock's Ltd to create and perform new plays, written by George Speaight. These included "Blackbeard the Pirate", "Cinderella" and "Aladdin". His toy theatre collection is now in the care of the Pollock's Toy Museum Trust.

External links

* [http://pollocks.trishymouse.net Penny Plain Twopence Coloured]
* [http://www.pollockstoymuseum.com/index.html Pollock's Toy Museum] (family successor to Pollock's business)
* [http://www.pollocksweb.co.uk/ Pollock's Toy Museum Trust]
* [http://www.weepingash.co.uk/es/es01.html A tribute to Edwin Smith's photography]
* [http://www.pollocksmuseum.co.uk/ourhistory.htm Pollock's Toy Museum UK]
* [http://www.dollshousetheatre.co.uk Dolls House Theatre] A unique 1:12th scale model theatre dedicated to keeping "theatre alive".


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