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Stage Tumbler Cloths


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Hi All,

I have read through the few other threads on this topic. Now the easy solution is to build it myself. Seems fairly straight forward.

However the committee for the building we do our pantos in are suddenly very health and safety aware and as a result are asking us to replace the, now very heavy, and poorly built tumblers we have.


I'm wondering if there are any theatrical companies that actually install these to spec?

I have a feeling it would go down a lot easier with the fact that we "have a professional company installing them" type thing.


Has anyone got any suggestions? Or should I just build them myself.


We should hopefully be getting a funding grant for this, so I'm not opposed to spending the money!





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Any scenery construction company would be happy to build and install them for you for a price.


Our Chippie lives in Kent and may be prepared to take it on as a freelance job, if you want his contact details PM me.

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speaking for myself, I don't know of anyone who has this kind of thing as an "off the shelf" product. I'd be interested to know if anyone else has more info.


when I was a drama student, our theatre had a very low ceiling, so tumblers were ideal; we all had a hand in making them in theatre carpentry lessons to produce the tumblers needed for the annual panto, like you said, they aren't complicated, but they function much better when well-built!


so although they aren't that common a theatrical tool these days, my first port of call would be a professional set-building company who could make the rollers to a high standard for you and fit the cloth. They might undertake the rigging, but you might need to sort that out yourself. When you say "installing", are they going to be permanently fixed in the roof? if not, then it could be very expensive to get a "professional company" in to rig them every time they are needed. There are good set building companies dotted around the country; they aren't all based in London....


another thing to think about is whether you should just think about re-clothing the ones you have - the increase in weight is probably a build-up of paint over the years? so this might produce a swift improvement.

It might be worth contacting Charles from Hall Stage, who posts here sometimes, and will know all there is to know about the pulleys and bits of string required - and could supply riggers to install, though I don't know whether they would do the carpentry as well although as an ex-master carpenter, he knows about the wooden bits as well.........


(edit) strangely enough, the poster above me may have undergone the very same carpentry lessons just a year or two later.....

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strangely enough, the poster above me may have undergone the very same carpentry lessons just a year or two later.....


We built flats and gate-leg rostra in carpentry but we never built tumblers just dragged out the old ones and recanvased them.


You obviously built them too well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you guys for your response. Sorry for my slow reply.


I have been thinking about just changing the cloth, but the bottom roll was made poorly, (the part the rope wraps round has a different circumference to the part the cloth wraps around. Not by much, but enough that it doest unfurl properly.


Then I thought, well the pulleys could do with an upgrade as could the (getting) worn ropes!


So really all I'm left with is the battens that attach to the roof of the stage! Probably will be a full replacement really!


I'll probably attempt this in the new year after this years panto is over so we have plenty of time to test and get it right.


What is the best material and weight of material to use? I'd like to do it all in one sheet really, so would be looking for someone who sells the right stuff in wide dimensions!


Cheers guys.

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Without knowing the size it's difficult to say whether you will be able to do it without getting something stitched up. J.D. McDougall sell unbleached cotton canvas up to 9.5m wide but this isn't the heaviest of canvas, I dont imagine that it would be a massive cost to get something made up in the correc size with a heavier canvas. As for the roller, the cloth that we have in for our current show was made in house using large diameter rolled aluminium tube (not sure of the exact size/wall thickness, though its probably somewhere arround 6" diameter).



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