The toy theater closed looks like a beautiful antique cabinet.

My Italian style Comedia Del'Arte Toy Theater

My approach to toy theater is to create a fun yet educational experience as well as a beautiful art object. A child can play with it alone or do performances for a small number of people. At some point, it might be important to graduate to larger toy theaters but there will always be this first introduction to the history of theater that can open a child up to the larger world and nurture inner creativity. I find myself, as an adult, making things that I wish I'd had when I was young. Seeing a few real antique toy theaters in Rome and Venice awakened a yearning for that experience that has never left me. Each theater is lit with a dollhouse miniature ceiling light that is easily replaced, and a ring binder full of information and ideas on how to use the little theater. The Italian style toy theater is $400, with a three week build time. I wish I had taken a photo of how ugly these cabinets were before I re-purposed them.


This is the tiniest toy theater I made, and it is the smallest possible I will go to adapt my design. I had to make the inside balconies flat because there was no room for columns or to change the set. The art historical characters give it more interest in the smaller space, too. You will notice below, in the stage detail, that there are ribbons going behind the stage scene which is how you remove it from it's velcro fasteners to put a new one in. I try to match the ribbon to the wall color so it won't stand out too much. The cabinets were little jewelry armoires from India. I don't have to find them now. A company that makes great room boxes now make my toy theaters. It is Steve Harvey Miniatures.The drawers they make for the room boxes are what made me ask them to make one with doors.

This set is designed to be changed by pulling on the ribbons. Nearly all my toy theaters come with set changes now. You can also order real toy theater sets from Kannik's Korner and resize them at Kinko's to fit. Kannik's also has a lot of character sheets.

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