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Toy Theatres

Victorian children enjoyed trips to see pantomimes. At home they would recreate the excitement by using table-top toy theatres to perform plays for their friends and family. Toy theatres could be made of card, although richer families might have a special stage made for them from wood, with everything from a real theatre made in miniature - even tiny lights (rather dangerous!). Once you had your theatre, you could buy books of stories, sheets of characters and pieces for the stage. These paper sheets came ready-coloured, or for less money, to paint yourself. The paper would then be cut out and backed onto card, with characters being attached to sticks or wires to move them around the stage. Here you will find a sheet of characters and a backdrop. The backdrop could be used for several different plays.

In the classroom:  

Print the sheets out - they can be blown up and used to colour in and cut out. Make up a story using the characters. Why does the backdrop have the names of four plays on it? Why not make up your own story, or chose a favourite pantomime tale and draw your own characters and backdrops to go with it?

toy theatre characters

toy theatre scene

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Strange But True

  • list arrowWhat did Victoria do first

    after her coronation in 1837?  Have a parliamentary meeting?  Have tea with all the royal dignitaries?  No - she gave her dog, Dash, a bath.

     

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