For her residency at Pollock’s Toy Museum Vaishali Prazmari is making a toy theatre for the 1001 Nights. She focuses in particular on Pollocks’ amazing historic collections of toy theatres and archives. Variously known as model theatres, miniature theatres or paper theatres, toy theatres hold a special place in her heart as paper and stories come to life. She is using her miniature manuscript painting training in combination with Pollock’s toy theatre expertise to make a theatre for the 1001 Nights that will contain the potential for all 1001 stories. Although popular stories associated with the Nights such as Aladdin and Ali Baba were firmly placed in the toy theatre tradition, attempting to encompass all 1001 tales is to our knowledge something that has not been done before. Vaishali believes that Indo-Persian miniatures inspired many of the golden age illustrators of the Arabian Nights and she marries the knowledge of this unique painting tradition with the toy theatre tradition to create her own hybrid, updated form.
She is very excited to be combining several of her interests in this piece and residency which will culminate in making her unique wooden toy theatre and designing smaller published paper versions for you to make at home in both black and white and full colour, in the old style of ‘a penny plain and tuppence coloured’.
Vaishali used to make toy theatres as a little girl and is fascinated by the feelings of wonder and power children have in small world play. A small child at heart herself, she also loves toys in general and what Virginia Woolf described as the ‘cathedral of childhood’.