Young Explorers: Dramatic Dickens

Charles Dickens loved the theatre and sometimes went to see the same performances over and over again!

Here you can see the theatre pass that he was given when he became editor of The Daily News. This meant that he could see performances for free as he was writing reviews.

Ivory theatre pass used by Charles Dickens when he was editor of 'The Daily News', 1846.
DH395 © Charles Dickens Museum

Ever since Charles began writing, people have loved seeing his stories recreated on stage. His first book was called The Pickwick Papers. It was so popular that many theatres started putting on their own plays inspired by the story before Charles had even finished writing it!

Charles didn’t just enjoy watching performances however, one of his ambitions as a young man was to become an actor himself! He loved to entertain by putting on and starring in amateur performances at home and on the stage!

As a child, Charles performed charades, pantomimes, comedies, melodramas, and magic-lantern shows for friends and family, but his favourite kind of performances were those using his toy theatre. He was given a toy theatre when he was nine years old and it allowed him to use his imagination to create stories of his own. He could be actor, director and producer all at the same time!

Click here to download our puppet theatre template and then build it using the instructions below. See where your imagination can take you!

Step 1.

Step one activity image

Cut upwards along the black lines and continue to cut out the black shapes in the centre of both the red and grey templates.

Step 2

Step 2 instruction image

Put some sellotape along the black lines on both the red and grey templates.

 Step 3

Step 3 instruction image

Fold back the white rectangles at the top and bottom of both the red and grey templates.

Step 4

 Step 4 instruction image

Turn over the red template and put some glue or double-sided sellotape on the widest rectangle.

Step 5

 Step 5 instruction image

Turn the grey template over and stick the wide rectangle over the top of the wide rectangle from the red template.

Step 6

Step 6 instruction image

Fold the grey template over and apply some glue or double-sided tape to the along the widest side of the grey template.

Step 7

 Step 7 instruction image

Stick the narrow rectangle from the red template onto the widest side of the grey template.

Step 8

 Step 8 instruction image

8. Your theatre should now look like this!

Step 9

 Step 9 instruction image

9. Colour or draw your character, then cut out.

Step 10 

 Step 10 instruction image

Turn your character over and stick a lolly stick at the bottom using glue or double-sided tape.

Step 11

 Step 11 instruction image

Put on a show!

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