General Info on Toy Theatre


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Toy Theatre is a unique form of puppetry . . . one which encompasses most of the known art forms in miniature. These tiny, but extremely elaborate, theatres are a delight to collect and display . . . and are completely absorbing when used for dramatic productions.

The Toy Theatre originated in Europe at the beginning of the 19th century and played an important part in documenting the productions and theatres of the 1800's because it copied the actual theatres, productions, characters, and performances of the time...& printed them on sheets of paper for reproduction in miniature in the home. The sheets were painted, pasted and cut out...the theatre itself was constructed of wood, or mounted on heavy cardboard. The play was rehearsed and finally PERFORMED! . . for a living-room audience of family and friends.

Many prominent individuals . . . such as Charles Dickens, Hans Christian Andersen, Winston Churchill and * * *[Robert Louis Stevenson] * * *  include a Toy Theatre in their childhood memories. The Sound of Music production featured such a theatre in the playroom shared by the Trapp family children.

Interest in Toy Theatre prints waned during the early 1900s but in recent years has experienced a remarkable revival in Europe. In fact, the * * * [International Paper Theatre Festival] is an annual event in Preetz, Germany,  15-17 September 2000 will be the 13th!!!  Last year, more than 17 countries participated. . . including the USA.  [Clay Martin] performed as did [Great Small Works] of New York.* * *

[The Toy Theatre Company] was "hatched" by [Gigi Sandberg], an active puppeteer in Gulfport, Mississippi to bring this charming hobby to the Americas.  She hopes to be joined by other TOY THEATRE enthusiasts & in the near future, the T.T. COMPANY will be performing at International Festivals too!

TOY THEATRE is not for everyone. . . but does offer something special to creative children (of any age).  The versatility of these tiny stages is enormous. Beyond the obvious family uses lie the fields of:

RECREATION -  Summer camp projects.

EDUCATION - Literature, library reading programs, foreign language projects. . . as well as the most obvious of all. . . theatre itself!

ARTS - All types of art are incorporated in TT productions: drawing, painting, music, speech, script-writing, lighting, & sound.

THERAPY - They adapt easily to a psychologist's "situation" development, have many varied uses in "gifted & talented" programs and offer endless possible for the handicapped.

GERONTOLOGY - A very special application, indeed, is for the older person who has always enjoyed theatre but no longer has the ability to participate in "live" productions or simply wants to share an interest in art or literature with a grandchild. . . a marvelous "generation-gap-jumper"!

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Last Updated 8 August 2000 by Gigi and Glen Sandberg