Association founded on April 25, 1925 under the name of the British Model Theatre Guild in London by a group of about fifteen enthusiasts who were in correspondence with author, illustrator and model theatre specialist Harry William Whanslaw, following the publication of his book Everybody’s Theatre.
The Guild’s first event was an exhibition organized in August of the same year in the Faculty of Arts Gallery, Upper Johns Street (London), and was opened by the writer G.K. Chesterton. On view were several miniature theatres and some marionettes (string puppets). The Guild continued to hold exhibitions and, gradually, were able to award trophies donated by its members for the best of the model theatres and the marionettes.
In 1926, the Guild published Notes and News, the first format of the regular newsletters which continue to this day. Their thrice-yearly magazine The Puppetmaster appeared for the first time in 1946 and is now published annually. In 1932, because of the growing interest of its members in all forms of puppet theatre, the term puppet was officially incorporated into the Guild’s title. The early 1930s were years of great activity: now boasting 800 members, some of its distinguished founders took part in John Logie Baird’s early experimental television broadcasts.
The British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild, in 2012, is still active. It continues to publish its newsletter and annual magazine, regularly organizes meetings, exhibitions and festivals, notably a biennial event at which the Guild’s trophies are awarded.
(See Great Britain.)