May the Toys Be With You: Rare Star Wars Exhibition comes to Canterbury

The hype is strong in this one. Exposure to anything to do with Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is inescapable as momentum builds to the release date of 17 December. If you’re in Canterbury, Kent, from 5 December you can be part of the experience by visiting the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, which is hosting a brand new and exclusive May the Toys Be With You exhibition.

May The Toys Be With You (Exhibition Poster) (c) Canterbury Museums & Galleries 2015

Described as “one of the finest collections of vintage Star Wars toys and original cinema posters”, this new exhibit is an absolute must for fans of the franchise, or cinema history in general. Excitement is palpable. According to the Beaney “from 1977 – 1985 an estimated 300 million action figures were sold”. Of course, the originally trilogy pretty much invented the modern movie merchandising industry we see around us today. You’ll be able to see toys and collectables from this period, including X-wings, lightsabers, posters and figures. Chairman of Canterbury City Council’s Community Committee, Cllr Neil Baker, said: “This is an unmissable exhibition for little kids and big kids alike, celebrating decades of cultural history that millions of people will identify with. It goes without saying that the force is strong at the Beaney this winter!”

Breaking news: a rare piece of cinema history will be shown at the Beaney for the first time! The original concept poster for the original Star Wars from British designer and artist Tom Beauvais, which has never been exhibited before, will be on display with the iconic Chantrell and Hildebrandt quad posters which were ultimately used for the film.

“Beauvais was working ‘in competition’ with his friend and colleague Tom Chantrell (whose rival design was eventually selected), at graphic design agency Chapman Beauvais when the commission came in. The design brief from 20th Century Fox had been for an action movie and to put more emphasis on the human characters. In an interview with Eddie Shannon for Film on Paper Beauvais explains, “For my design I used day-glo paper to really make the title of the film pop with bright colour. I started by putting ordinary yellow paint on the lightsaber but it looked too much like custard so I ended up using more day-glo on that to give it the right feel.”

Although his 1977 Star Wars design would remain a great unseen treasure of movie poster art, Tom Beauvais’s body of work would go on to include many other high profile movies, including: Fantastic Voyage, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Shining, Blade Runner and Mad Max.

Fans will even be able to purchase a limited number of Giclee prints, personally signed by Tom Beauvais.”

Much more than just this is happening in Canterbury. Throughout the run-up to the new film’s release, characters can be seen around this historic city. You can follow the news and events on Twitter with the hashtag #MayTheToysBeWithYou. Other events at the Beaney include Mask Making, and Puppet and Badge Making, with more to be announced.

The exhibition is free in the Special Exhibitions Room, although donations are of course excepted. It runs from Saturday 5 December 2015 to Sunday 6 March 2016. For more information, visit:

Source: Beaney House of Art and Knowledge
GS Blogger: Ian J Simpson

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