Your Toys, Autumn 2018

After a hugely successful tour in 2017, this show will be on the road again in Autumn 2018.

For more information or to book dates, please contact our producer, Emma Dolman -

About the show

A toy is a powerful object. Even as adults, we can remember a favourite toy and what it meant to us.

Having made a number of shows over the last few years that included puppetry of one kind or another, we at Slot Machine HQ had spent a certain amount of time animating all sorts of creatures. 

But we were struck over and over again by how

strongly both children and adults relate to these

make-believe beings - especially if the object

being animated has some relationship with them


An instance that springs to mind is of a young

family member who could be persuaded to go

to bed by the Donkey Hot Waterbottle (known

as DonkeyHottie), but not directly by the

parent making it speak.

So we began to experiment with the idea of a piece where all the puppets were people’s toys brought on that day to the theatre. How might this work? How would children feel about seeing their well-loved toy in a new context? Through workshops with children - in schools as well as during research and development for the piece - we began to experiment.

Many children imagined their toy going on an adventure - and we loved this idea. Some children had fantastical suggestions about where these adventures might take place - in the mountains, a storm at sea, in the desert. Someone said "we want a boy who cries a lot". Someone else said "talk gobbledygook" - as a company we like to experiment with language, and we’d been exploring how best to communicate with an audience for whom English is not their first language. We also loved the idea of unlikely characters being thrown together and having to work as a team. 

However good an artist you are, it's almost impossible to replicate the charm and energy in a childs' drawing, and coming away from workshops with fistfuls of these, it seemed clear we should find a way to build these images into the piece, so we started to experiment with projecting these images onto the set. We wanted to create a world that reflects children’s energy and their delight in all things surreal, but one that was also delicious to watch as an adult. 

The result is a piece that has been made from the heart (and not without struggle) by a wide group of people of all ages. We have all come up with a story that in many ways is an anthem to the strength of a group powering on through adversity - and that will now be shared with an even wider group of people.

We hope none of you ever have to battle a huge and hungry monster, but we hope you enjoy Your Toys.

All images by Cammie Toloui -

Performers: Nicola Blackwell, Matthew Coulton, Nadia Morgan, Isabel Sharman

Promo film

Click for promo

Originally produced by: