July 8 – 13, 2019
with John Bell & Trudi Cohen of Great Small Works
A light-hearted lecture by Great Small Works’ own singing professor Dr. John Bell will introduce the 19th-century history of Toy Theater (also called paper theater) — the pleasures of its traditional practice in Victorian parlors, and contemporary revival on stages and in classrooms around the world. Participants will be shown some basic techniques and materials. We will discuss image and text selection and dramaturgy. And then they will break up into small groups and create their own original toy theater pieces. The workshop will culminate with everyone presenting the results of their efforts to each other.
Our workshop will present the history and practice of this intimate and highly accessible puppetry form. It will offer a chance to construct a toy theater stage and scenery and figures, and to put together a multi-scene story. Participants will learn the value of Toy Theater as a teaching tool, both in curriculum-based school environments, and in community programs. Most of all, they will discover the possibilities of this historic parlor entertainment for telling the grandest of tales with the simplest of means.
Anyone who would like to consider subject matter for their piece in advance of the workshop is encouraged to do so. A song, a poem, a location, an anecdote, a political idea, a hero, a news item, what I ate for breakfast, what I saw walking to the post office – there are infinite possibilities.