Holding Up the Queue: The cult of the Harlequinade and the toy theatre

Close your eyes and picture a box that contains a world of magical wonders. A fantastical machine imbued with enchantments powered to life by the imagination and dreams of the seeker, searching for answers to lost and hidden questions, held crystallised like a beating heart within its four walls.

This is no ordinary box, but the gilded miniature stage of childhood, the toy theatre, and the curtain is about to go up for the performance of a pantomime of transformation….

“The harlequinade!”

In the first episode of Holding Up The Queue from Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop, join Simon to hear about the Harlequinade, how it influenced what we know as pantomime, and a discussion about their mutual fascination of toy theatres with expert Alan Powers.