The Fisher Knight's Tale - Wild Toy Theater

Jacob Brandon Photography

Jacob Brandon Photography

"Meet Laura, the Fisher-Knight! She is brave, she is bold, and she is armed with a fishing rod! Laura is on a perilous quest to save the River Kingdom from floods"

The Book

When someone asks if it is possible to make a giant book on which to perform a puppet show, with a pop-up stage upon every turn of the page, one does not refuse.

A brilliantly challenging project completed on a short time schedule for Sarah Vigars on her maiden tour of The Fisher Knight's Tale.


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The Mechanism

Simple in practice, but tricky to get right, the book uses a rocking internal spine in order to securely mount the page and keep them flat once turned - no page flexibility with 4mm birch ply.

Coupled with an internally folding outer spine, it gives realistic book-behaviour, for a show even before the show has started.

With seven pages in and the turning mechanism finalised, the next task was to create the pop-up elements to create the stages for each scene.

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Pop-ups were made using re-enforced mount board with some clever Tyvec hinges, to hold up to the rigors of life on the road.

Any piece mounted toward the front (bottom) of the page has a pull towards the back (top) tab for ease of set up.

Large central structures would erect by simply unfolding them. These include moated castles, countryside scenes and reed beds.

Once permanently glued to each page, each pop-up received a lick of paint and an artist's touch from Sarah herself. Leading to the final look for the show.

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Sarah Vigars

Creator of Wild Toy Theater, can be found making puppets, performing and creating:


As The Crow Flies - Hope & Anchor

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"We follow this adventure As the Crow Flies – a tale of unexpected characters and extraordinary feats, inspired by sailors, forest dwellers and performed using a Moving Panorama."

A disastrous turn left this show's main piece, the moving panorama, on the blink of destruction. Some quality repair, with a few upgrades chucked in for good measure and the tale was back on the road. This time however, an inventor was among their ranks.

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'The Crankie'

A moving panorama uses two rotating spindles to hold a very, very long series of illustrations or images. Simply turning a handle reels these images in front of a lamp to create an immersive, image based story with all the darkness of shadow theater.

Hope & Anchor's machine has a few alterations:

  1. A Dynamo that powers a speaker, meaning as the handle is turned music will also be played and projected out of the gramophone horn.
  2. A clutch that disengages the rest of the mechanism to allow for pauses in the story whilst the music plays on.
  3. A flip up section that means a subject can appear and disappear from the scrolling illustration.
  4. A tension-er to ensure the paper roll stays taught and does not strain the mechanism (or the winder...)

It has come a long way from when it first reached the workshop...

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The Re-Winder

How does one re-wind a 20 minute long story reel? With this little device.

Believe it or not, before this it meant unraveling and rolling by hand, which went on for some time.

Touring means things need to take some abuse, hence the thick gauge wood and bolts, do the trick nicely.

Accompanied by a locking in mechanism and a couple of antique drill handles and voila!

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Alex Goodman

of Hope & Anchor is a freelance printmaker and performer and can be seen on stormy seas such as: