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Expert Talk: Toy Theatre

14 March

6.30 pm - 8.30 pm

£12 (£10 for Friends)

Booking Information

Tickets can be purchased online or in our shop during normal opening hours, Thursday through Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm.

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Expert Talk and performance by Alan Powers and David Powell from Pollock’s Toy Museum

Talk starts at 7pm in the Verden Gallery. The museum will be open before and after the talk to view the exhibitions. Drinks and nibbles will be provided in the museum before the talk.


Good Fairies and Bold Buccaneers: The Art Revival of Toy Theatre in the early twentieth century

Toy Theatre has been an enduring if seldom mainstream element of English culture since the Regency period, associated above all with the publisher Benjamin Pollock of Hoxton. While he was continuing to sell his ‘Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured’ cut-out sheets into to the twentieth century, these gave inspiration for a revival of interest and new creations in the manner of the original miniature plays. The Irish artist Jack B Yeats, younger brother of W. B. Yeats, wrote and drew a number of plays, mostly about pirates, which were followed by three London Underground posters containing all the graphic material for mounting a play. Albert Rutherston, member of a famous artistic dynasty, was the artist for these. The recently discovered Pomona toy theatre, included in the Mary Wheelhouse exhibition, seems to belong to this movement, although the figures appear to have been three dimensional rather than the flat cardboard of tradition.

Ranging over some of these largely forgotten intersections of illustration and performance, David Powell and Alan Powers, historians, collectors and practitioners of the art of Juvenile Drama, also Trustees of Pollock’s Toy Museum, will conclude with a performance of two of Jack Yeats’s dramas, James Flaunty, or the Terror of the Western Seas, and The Scourge of the Gulph.

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