Wednesday, 9 September 2009

victorian theatre

Tess & I made a Victorian cardboard theatre today. We bought the kit when we went to the Weald & Downland museum a few weeks ago, and it is similar to sets that were very popular 150 years ago. Initially the kits were made as replicas of real shows and sold from the theatre where the show was on, but later on, they tended to use more classic stories and were popular as a general toy. The pieces are die cut into large sheets of card, and simply push out and are folded and interlinked to create quite a sophisticated and impressive mini theatre. Our set is for the story of Cinderella, and Tess, Brodie & I had lots of fun putting on shows all afternoon (though as I was the only one who could read the script, my voice is a little hoarse from putting on so many different voices!!)

Tess pushing out the pieces ....

All ready to assemble ......

Tess really enjoyed all the folding and slotting to put it together ....

... though we did have to keep stopping to play peek-a-boo at every stage .....

The finished theatre ......

The actors take to the stage .....

.... with help from the stage hands .......


  1. How delightful to see children so involved in an activity that does not involve plastic bits and a video screen! As an enthusiast for the Victorian toy theatre for the last eighty years I enjoyed the way this theatre came to life in their (and your!) hands, and looked so attractive. Many thanks for the sight of this.

    You might like to see my post of September 05, 2008.

  2. Thanks for your comment Frederick. Goodness only knows how you found us, but great to hear from people reading about our activites! Tess & Brodie have had a fabulous time playing with the theatre, and I am sure it will remain a popular toy for quite some time.

  3. I want to buy one for my girl, where can I buy it online?

  4. hello anonymous. We bought our theatre from a museum shop not online. I think Amazon sell them, or you could do a google search on victorian cardboard theatre to find other suppliers. Hope you enjoy it.

  5. A very great pleasure to see a family enjoying toy theatre. I am a collector and performer of the old plays by Pollock, Green, Webb and Skelt etc. You would be able to adapt almost any of these to fit your theatre.
    Benjamin Pollock's Toy Shop in Covent garden has the Cinderella Theatre at £9.99 here -