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Thunder Drums and Lightning Sheets


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So I was looking up something about the Vaudeville theatre on wikipedia and came across this unreferenced piece of information.


"Rare thunder drum and lightning sheets, together with other early stage mechanisms survive in the theatre."


Any idea what they actually are?


A google search just brings up copies of the wikipedia article.

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Lighting sheets are sheets of steel you shake to make the sound of thunder. I don't know of lighting sheets I assume it might be used in conjunction with a thunder drum as lighting sounds different. I actually know somewhere you can hire one (if they still do it)


Thunder drums are if I am right, a barrel with balls in it. You wind the handle to turn the drum and it sounds like thunder





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Most of the smaller london houses have vast amounts of their original "behind the scenes" technology still in place sitting unused.


Gielgud has bridges and traps in place


Lyric has a MASSIVE revolve


Playhouse has the most amazing set of multiple split bridges, cuts, a couple of traps all sitting there.


Under the stage of the Drury Lane Lyric there's a very impressive set of "60's" full width bridges that are a very logical technological updating of the victorian idea.





If it's noise and effects that interest you then check out the Tyne Theatre & Opera House in newcastle which has bridges, cuts, multiple traps, original flying equipment and a range of Sound effect devices (including a rare, full-sized, fully working Thunder Roll which sounds impressive!)



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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all for the information.


Quickie: is the Cov garden theatre museum still there? All sorts of toys, and I think that's where all the lampire things are based. Inc Strand. Just a thought. Apart from in all our crazy little minds, of course!


No. it's long gone. Items in the collection have reverted to the parent museum, the V&A, but there is no permanent exhibition as far as I'm aware.

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There is a theatre display at the V&A (at least there was last time I was there). I distinctly recall the original Viking Follies Girl costume from The Producers being on display, among other things.

You may well be right - it's a long time since I went there. I thought the intention had been to display themed exhibitions on a temporary ad hoc basis rather than have a permanent exhibition fully covering the history of theatre as had been the aim when they had a dedicated site in Covent Garden... I imagine you can still apply for access to the collection for bona fide research purposes. Perhaps I'll have a wander over there, I've got a bit of time on my hands. Like many locals, I'm guilty of under-using and taking for granted the resources of the city I live in.... :rolleyes:


E2A - a quick google suggests there's more to be seen than I thought: theatre galleries

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