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History Of The Model Theatre

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The Model Toy Theatre The Toy Theatre, also called the Paper Theatre and Model Theatre is a form of Miniature Theatre dating back to the early 1800s in Europe. Toy theatres were often printed on paperboard sheets and sold as kits at the concession stand of an opera or theatre. Toy theatres were assembled at home and performed for family members and guests, sometimes even with live music. Toy Theatre saw a drastic decline in popularity with a shift towards realism on the European stage in the late 19th century, and again with the arrival of television after World War 2. Toy Theater has seen a comeback in recent years among many puppeteers, authors and filmmakers and there are numerous international toy theatre festivals throughout the Americas and Europe. In the first half of the 19th century more than 300 of London's most popular plays saw issue as toy theatres. ...read more.


You see Robert Louis Stevenson had had an awful argument with Webb and declared that 'if you love art, folly, or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock's!' This shot Pollock into the limelight and people from far and wide came to visit Pollock's, including the likes of Charlie Chaplin. The model theatre was reaching new heights and in 1925 The British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild was created. Benjamin and his wife, Eliza had 8 Children, but in 1895 she passed away. Benjamin's successor, and son, William passed away shortly after, leaving no one to take the place of Benjamin. Pollock's daughter, Louisa helped out when her father finally died in 1937 she couldn't take on all the work Louisa's sister, Selina helped out. WW1 came and there were no sales. The two sisters couldn't cope and finally closed the shop. They sold all their stock to an Irish antiquarian bookseller in August 1944 and just one month later, Pollock's shop was the target of a German bomb which destroyed it and most of the shops along the street. ...read more.


There are three key personalities that inspired the formation of The Guild, Harry W.Whanslaw, Benjamin Pollock and Gerald Morice. Harry Whanslaw, more affectionately known as Whanny, was one of the most creative illustrators of books, mostly of an educational nature, in the early twentieth century. Like many Theatre designers, Whanny loved the popular arts which inspired most of his ideas, not the least the puppet theatre and the juvenile drama. Whanny was fortunate to see a number of the family travelling marionette theatres, and he regularly spent time in the great street markets of London, where he bought any item of curiosity. His best work was probably the 'Chatterbox Annual', published in 1923, that contained his illustrated items throughout it, with the title 'The Toy That Never Grows Old'. The popularity of this led to the publication of the book that inspired so many model theatre enthusiasts. Very little is known about Whanny's early life. The model theatre industry finally faded out due to the introduction of TV and DVD's but shops like Pollock's can still be found to this day. By Amy Smith 9Z ...read more.

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