TToymaker & Son was first presented in 1978 by a group of students from Chesworth Middle School in Horsham, England, where Colin Harbinson was the deputy headmaster and choreographer of the play.
It was quickly recognized that Colin had found in Toymaker & Son a perfect combination: A story worth presenting in a style that moved audiences from tears, to laughter, to resounding applause. Toymaker & Son went on to receive international acclaim and has been seen by multiples millions in over 70 nations across Africa, Australasia, North America, Europe, and South America.
From the first performance in Italy with an adult cast in 1979, Toymaker & Son went on to be given wide exposure all over Western Europe. In Greece the Prime Minister watched a special performance, and in Spain Toymaker & Son was sponsored as part of the official festivities in the World Cup Soccer Games.
North America first experienced first experienced Toymaker & Son at the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, where it was described by a theatre critic as "an excellent performance in modern dance, and significant for the message it is relaying." Since that time Toymaker & Son has continued to tour extensively in Canada and the United States drawing audiences of up to 10,000 people in a single performance.
Spanish speaking audiences have been deeply moved by Toymaker & Son performed live and on national television in Central and South American countries including Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Honduras and Belize.
In Asia, the unique fusion of dance, drama and mime has captivated the imagination of many cultures, as troupes have performed in nations including China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore.
In the Indonesian country Bali, one of the leaders of the Balinese Dance Theatre, after seeing a performance of Toymaker & Son said, "We have much to learn from Western choreography ... your production has meaning and life."
Nationwide tours of Australia and New Zealand have been enthusiastically received. Toymaker & Son was chosen by the Entertainment Committee to perform at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia. The following year, the Queen's representative in New Zealand, the Governor General, arranged a "command" performance of Toymaker & Son on board the M.V. Anastasis in Auckland. This brought together ambassadors and diplomats from many countries, including Eastern Bloc representatives.
Since the 1984 Olympic Games–where it was also the most sought-after production in Los Angeles– this production has been performed in such diverse nations as the former Yugoslavia and the Pacific Island of Tonga. From the former Soviet Union, Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean Basin, stories abound about how Toymaker & Son has touched and changed lives.
If you have a story about a Toymaker & Son performance/tour, or of how the production has impacted your life–either as a performer or audience member–please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on one of the Toymaker & Son Facebook pages.
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