A talk by theatre historian David Powell followed by a live toy theatre performance of the famous nautical melodrama 'Black Eyed Susan'
London's West End is the world centre for theatre today, but its past is equally vivid. Performances in the early Victorian age of spectacular scenery, quick change comedy, wilting maidens and ranting rogues were captured in the miniature cutout prints that many children had at home, and used to recreate the experience of adult theatre, grandly known as Juvenile Drama, or more popularly as Toy theatre. Benjamin Pollock of Hoxton survived into the 1930s with his shop selling prints first issued around a hundred years before, that reflect an even longer tradition of Renaissance stage illusion and Romantic fantasy.
This tradition has never died, and is represented still in London today. With a selection of items from Westminster City archives, private collections and holdings of Pollocks Toy Museum, we offer a glimpse of the riches of this little known heritage.