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TECHNIQUES & TIPS

1.    TT Cast Expansion  courtesy of  Bob Burns, Will Stackman.

2.        Mount your figures and scenes (and even your proscenium sheets) on ultra-thin aluminum.  They are not quite as fragile . . . last longer . . . and the edges can be bent slightly to give a bit of a dimensional effect.  I use wall-paper paste but there may be some new adhesives that work better.  While you can use a really cheap grade of roof flashing, the best aluminum for this purpose is a waste-product of offset printing and it is usually free . . . just ask any printer for it.

3.        When Puppeteers of America brought Robert Poulter to the national festival in Seattle in 1999, his toy theatre performance of Beowulf won the hearts of everyone who saw it.  He gave a week-long workshop with each attendee making a “Poulter” stage from a black foamcore kit and performed it in on the final day.  The kit had all the pieces cut out including the 16 15” x ½” strips of the foamcore..according to the handout sheet . . . so the biggest task was simply to glue them all to the floor holding them in place with straight pins until dry. 

Robert has come back to this country several times by popular demand and everyone into toy theatre at all has a Poulter Theatre of one size or another with the slotted floor . . . but no-one can equal his speed and dexterity when it comes to sliding strips of figures, scenery etc. thru those grooves!! 

Handout from Poulter's workshop.

Make a theatre from the drawing if you wish but you will want to get a copy of his book on these theatres and the many variations and adaptations he draws. Model Theatre is available in the Store on the Puppeteers of America website www.puppeteers.org/puppstore.html . . . or from Pollocks in London . . . or perhaps even from Robert himself….his address in on the sheet!!!

I have changed my Poulter Theatre (and I have made several sizes of them) to raise it a couple of inches off the table top (leaving that amount under the proscenium opening.  My grooved floor can be turned upsidedown when I want to use sliders for a particular production . . . Or I can take it out altogether when I want to put my two-sided figures on pedestals.

4.      Here is a condensed version of the directions for constructing the Reddington, the Neptune, the Regency or the Victoria Theatres . . . either “flat” or “built”.

Frame.
Check that you have the correct number of parts - as follows:

1 Stage
2 Front legs
2 Rear legs
2 Slotted grid sides
2 Dowel spacers
2 Large screws
8 Smaller screws

Note:  The two large screws are used to secure the front legs to the stage.


Slot rear legs into corresponding slots in the stage.  Screw grid sides to inside of front legs and outside of rear legs.  Place dowel spacers between front legs and rear legs and screw into place taking care not to overtighten screws.

Attachment.

The smaller REGENCY and VICTORIA proscenium arches can be held against the front of the wooden frame with cardboard loops as shown in drawing.


For mounting scenery cut cardboard strips the width of thew stage and glue to back of scenery card so that they will lie in the grid slots and the bottom edge of the scenery will rest on the stage.


Built Corner.
a.  Flat fronted cardboard arch.  To make an arch you will need cardboard, 1/16th of an inch thick, slightly larger than the printed outline.  Cut around outline of printed stage front but do not yet cut away inside of arch.  Using paste glue stick printed sheet on the cardboard, leaving an even margin all around for trimming.  Let paste dry, then inside of arch can be cut out and edges trimmed.  Thisflat fronted arch can now be stuck with impact glue to front eedge of grid support legs.  To find right position do this with wooden parts assembled.

b.  Recessed cardboard arch.  Proceed as in the previous paragraph until you have a flat fronted arch, but before it is fixed to the wooden frame, first cut along the heavy black lines of diagram, thereby removing section I.  The lines to be folded, dotted in diagram, should be indented by drawing along them with a knife, guided by a ruler.  By folding you can bring panel IV over panel II with III behind V to produce recessed picture frame effect.  Use impact glue on panels corresponding with II and III in diagram.  Press panels briefly into place and take apart again allowing glue to become tacky before fixing.  Repeat at opposite corner.  Arch can now be stuck to gris supports as described in previous paragraph.


5.    In Victorian times, the penny plain versions of toy theatre figures, scenes, etc were painted with watercolors.   Colored pencils (Prismatic brand only) seem to get the best results….my scenes actually look like magnificent oil paintings!!  It is a good idea tho to take a course or two or at least get an instruction book on the proper way to “layer” the colors to get the effect you want.  This technique seems to work especially well on Stephen Langdales Ink Drawings . . . and he has a fabulous list of “offerings”. . . check this out in the “sources” portion of this website.


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Last Updated8 May 2006 by Gigi and Glen Sandberg