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Interactive theatre brings 'silliness, fun and adventure' to Vestry House Museum

Walthamstow’s Vestry House Museum is to host a specially-commissioned piece of interactive theatre created by E17-based Slap Haddock.

Walthamstow Firsts: The Toy Maker is a journey into Walthamstow’s past as the centre of the UK toy industry. Audiences will be guided by an inventor who tells the story of local toy makers, bringing the Museum’s collection to life along the way.

Full of silliness and interaction, the performance culminates in audience members being given “homework” to wow the current toy industry of Walthamstow.

Performances of The Toy Maker will take place on Fun Palace weekend - Saturday 3 October and Sunday 4 October 2015 - a national event that brings culture to the heart of communities.

Vestry House’s Fun Palace will also include performances from Natural Voices Youth Choir, arts and crafts from The Mill Knitters, refreshments and much more. 

Emily Harwood, co-artistic director of Slap Haddock, said: “Working with Vestry House Museum is an incredible opportunity to get stuck into the archives and root through the files and cupboards of the museum.

"Exploring the toy industry of Walthamstow is a brilliant place to start - full of stories, innovation and community spirit, we've created a show that celebrates all of this. Packed with silliness, fun and adventure, we're inviting you to come and explore one of the hidden gems in E17's toy chest. After all, we're all just big kids at heart!”

Council Leader Chris Robbins said: “We’re always looking for new ways to bring the borough’s history to life so this is a really exciting event. The popularity of interactive theatre has risen significantly recently and I can’t think of a better setting for it than Vestry House, with all the amazing stories that it tells.”

Notes to editors

Walthamstow Firsts: The Toy Maker

Saturday 3 October and Sunday 4 October 2015

Vestry House Museum

Vestry Rd, London E17 9NH

Free admission, no need to book 

Three performances a day, each lasting 45 minutes: 12.30, 14.00 and 15.30

For further information please contact Ian Mason:

020 8496 4726

07740 046143

Walthamstow Firsts: The Toy Maker is sponsored by The Stow Brothers (

Performances will be 45mins and suitable for the whole family (three performances per day, Saturday and Sunday).

The Fun Palace event at Vestry House Museum runs from 12-5pm on both days.

About Vestry House Museum, Walthamstow

Vestry House Museum is the local history museum for Waltham Forest and home of Waltham Forest Archives and Local Studies Library. Set in an 18th century former workhouse in the heart of historic Walthamstow Village, the Museum tells the story of the borough through a series of permanent displays and special exhibitions. A favourite exhibit is Britain’s first petrol driven car, built by Frederick Bremer in 1892.

The Museum is owned and operated by Waltham Forest Council.

About Slap Haddock

Slap Haddock is a Walthamstow-based theatre company that makes work for and with communities in non-traditional spaces, allowing them to fully engage in the arts and their area.

About Fun Palaces

In the early 1960s, Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price conceived the Fun Palace as a ‘laboratory of fun’ and ‘a university of the streets’. It was to be a temporary and movable home to the arts and sciences, open and welcoming to all. Fun Palaces is now a national festival – an annual, free celebration of arts and culture. Fun Palaces sees makers across the UK and worldwide creating their own ‘pop-up’ Fun Palaces on the weekend of 3-4 October 2015.

If you would like more information about any of these press releases or have a different media enquiry please contact us at or on 020 8496 4521 / 4802.

For out of hours please email or call 07966 915 157.