Watch the new trailer
Step into The ToyBox, an essentially different kind of space, where young and old can PLAY.
Whether you are in grade 5 or grade 50, The ToyBox uses high-tech and low-tech ways to engage with art/technology/each other (community)- mixing creativity, interactivity and the special sauce that is often missing: FUN.
With toys like green screens, projectors, and costume pieces
Thousands of people, young and old, have come to play in The ToyBox since it premiered (as “The Playground”) in 2010, as a commission by Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival. The ToyBox is now a fully customizable experience and has been presented in venues as varied as Nuit Blanche Hunstville, SUNY-Buffalo USITT Conference, Theatre Passe Muraille,Toronto’s City Hall, Circle in the Square in Kitchener and Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.It is a freestanding 16 by 20 by 12 foot high Truss structure
It’s a giant green screen and a 20 foot wall of projection, and there’s a hidden camera that puts you into the projection!
Its a bunch of floor tiles, some green acting blocks and staircases
Its a pedestal with a nifty device and a bunch of buttons
It’s costume racks with tails and capes and ears and crowns
It’s a bunch of lights and some funny sound effects
Its custom made and customizable interactive motion graphics and footage
And it’s a bunch of Fun
Most importantly though it’s what you bring to it. Your imagination and willingness to play.
It is direct engagement with your audience.
At The heart of the Toybox is a button station
We experimented with many variations of interactivity in our development of the piece, and discovered that the most obvious and most direct interaction was the most satisfying to the audience. Buttons have a direct and tactile cause and effect relationship, which gives an immediacy to the player.
The ToyBox buttons are not marked which allows for discovery. However the interface is a grid of buttons, so the participants aren’t lost in the ether of trying to figure out how to reproduce an action. This ability to repeat an event on screen has given rise to some pretty epic and complicated games… created by 8 year old boys!
The Green Screen
While the Green Screen is nothing new we chose to include it because we wanted to create something that was entirely live yet very digital.
We make no recordings during your time in the toy box (other than that promo video). The idea being that, like traditional theatre, The ToyBox is a LIVE EVENT.
That being said we all live in a twitter – instagram – Facebook world, and we encourage people use them in The ToyBox because it does create some pretty fantastic instagram pics.
We even have the technology to pick up specific tags (like of your venue or festival) and bring them back into the visual world of The ToyBox in some really dynamic ways. We can talk about that in the bar.
Value added Experience
There is a lot of discussion these days about audience interaction. How do we all better connect with our audiences? We make installations to try to do just that, and so The ToyBox works really well as a, sort of Mars Lander of Art. Bringing the art out into the universe in ways your audience isn’t expecting.
It’s a great value added experience, or a stand alone installation, and it can run in many different ways. That’s the flexibility we designed into it.
So How does it run?
We have run it several different ways. It’s been a free for all where people come and go as they see fit over the course of a day.
We have run it as a ticketed event where up to 30 people purchase an hour of playtime.
It’s been a pre and post show audience interaction.
We have run workshops, done story telling and hosted classes in it for school groups where there is more of a structure.
It would also make a great addition to your million dollar Bar Mitzvah. Or we can install it in your fabulous home.
And the instruction of how to use The ToyBox is super simple. When you enter the ToyBox you’re usually greeted by a room animator who shows you the points of interaction, asks you to not mash all 64 buttons at once or jump off the stairs, and otherwise acts as a guide.
Recently we did a “spotlight” presentation of the ToyBox at the IPAY conference in Philadelphia.
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