This summer, on Thursday, July 13th, you’ll have the chance to experience something that doesn’t happen anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere.


A thunderstorm with crashing rain will descend on Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts.  And this roaring storm will happen inside the historic theatre. It’s called the Thunder Roll.  Experience this phenomenon for yourself free of charge. No tickets or reservations are required.


Starting at 10am and repeating again at the top of the hour at 11am, 1pm and 2pm, there will be a 20 minute presentation, including the Storm Speech from Shakespeare’s King Lear performed by Executive Director Tony Rivenbark. You’ll want to hold tight to the arm of your seat because you’re going to experience the power of a raging thunderstorm all around you.



Refreshments will be available for purchase

Click for a Video about the Thunder RollClick For Video About The Thunder Roll


One of the most unique features of the Main Stage at Thalian Hall is the original Thunder Roll (sometimes called a Thunder Run) that uses wooden troughs and cannon balls to create the effect of thunder. At this point, only one other working Thunder Roll is known by Thalian Hall to exist, located in Bristol, England.


When the theatre was opened in 1858, the Thunder Roll helped set Thalian Hall apart from other theatres of the day as evidenced by an excerpt from the October 13th, 1858 edition of The Daily Herald. "As to the scenery we question whether finer work can be found in any theatre, and all necessary accessories, such as traps wings, slides, imitation thunder and rain, and in fact everything requisite to make this a first class theatre is found here."


Please explore below for a short video about the Thunder Roll and a diagram describing its operation.


The Thunder Roll's Location
Thunder Roll's Location
Diagram of the Thunder Roll's Operation
Diagram of Thunder Roll's Operation