'Kaleidoscopes of Changing Pictures': Representing nations in toy theatres

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dc.contributor.author Hofer-Robinson, Joanna
dc.date.accessioned 2018-02-27T09:57:13Z
dc.date.available 2018-02-27T09:57:13Z
dc.date.issued 2018-01-25
dc.identifier.citation Hofer-Robinson, J. (2018) '‘Kaleidoscopes of Changing Pictures’: Representing Nations in Toy Theatre', Journal of Victorian Culture, 23(1), pp. 45-63. doi:10.1093/jvc/vcx002 en
dc.identifier.volume 23 en
dc.identifier.issued 1 en
dc.identifier.startpage 4 en
dc.identifier.endpage 63 en
dc.identifier.issn 1355-5502
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10468/5548
dc.identifier.doi 10.1093/jvc/vcx002
dc.description.abstract Toy theatre was an adjunct trade to London theatreland in the nineteenth century. Publishers produced miniature versions of popular productions on stage in contemporary playhouses. Consequently, toy theatre has typically been studied as a unique visual record of theatrical scenery and costumes. This article aims to question these assumptions, and to argue that these toys should be critically examined as performances in their own right. In 1854 the Lord Chamberlain’s Office licensed the ‘Grand Military Spectacle’ of ‘The Battle of the Alma’ at Astley’s Amphitheatre. Both the spectacle and the humour of the drama drew on the interplay between domestic and foreign settings and stereotypes. Far from presenting simplified models of place, space, and identification, however, Astley’s used stock characters and generic tropes to play with and unsettle national identities, and to encourage the audience to question press coverage of the Crimean War. At least two toy theatre publishers adapted ‘The Battle of the Alma’ by the end of the year, but each revised the source drama differently. Although J. K. Green’s and W. Webb’s toy theatre scripts and sheets both drew on the stereotypical imaginaries of domestic and foreign cultural geographies used in Astley’s full-scale production, these publishers constructed diverse meanings from familiar tropes. Comparing alternative versions of ‘The Battle of the Alma’ thus identifies divergent ways in which these apparently analogous products adapted the source drama, engaged with discourses of national identity cued in the original production, and negotiated the relationships between theatrical representation and contemporary reportage of the battle. Instead of interpreting toy theatre as an archival record of lost scenery and costumes, this article argues that its scripts and sheets are material evidence of multiple processes of cultural production occurring simultaneously in superficially similar artefacts. en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Oxford University Press en
dc.rights © 2018 Leeds Trinity University. Published by Oxford University Press. This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Victorian Culture following peer review. The version of record is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/jvc/vcx002 en
dc.subject Toy theatre en
dc.subject Juvenile drama en
dc.subject Cultural geographies en
dc.subject National identities en
dc.subject Nationalism en
dc.subject Adaptation en
dc.subject Military spectacle en
dc.subject Battle of Alma en
dc.subject Crimean War en
dc.subject Astley's Amphitheatre en
dc.title 'Kaleidoscopes of Changing Pictures': Representing nations in toy theatres en
dc.type Article (peer-reviewed) en
dc.internal.authorcontactother Joanna Hofer-Robinson, English, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. +353-21-490-3000 Email: joanna.hofer-robinson@ucc.ie en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en
dc.check.info Access to this article is restricted until 24 months after publication by request of the publisher. en
dc.check.date 2020-01-25
dc.date.updated 2018-02-27T09:45:23Z
dc.description.version Accepted Version en
dc.internal.rssid 412557262
dc.description.status Peer reviewed en
dc.identifier.journaltitle Journal of Victorian Culture en
dc.internal.copyrightchecked No !!CORA!! en
dc.internal.licenseacceptance Yes en
dc.internal.IRISemailaddress joanna.hofer-robinson@ucc.ie en

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