The Thunder Roll

Thalian Hall is the only theater in the country that still creates a thunderstorm indoors using a 19th century sound effect device.  It happens when cannon balls are released in sequence down wooden troughs, combined with a wooden cylinder that is turned to imitate rain. All of this happens up in the rafters above the stage The resulting thunderstorm has delighted audiences for generations. This 19th Century technology is used in productions to this day.

The Thunder Roll brought is more than a sound effect. It also had a lasting effect on two people living a continent apart.

For their story click the image below!

In July, 2016, Thalian Hall held its first public event featuring the Thunder Roll. Nearly one thousand people attended the four, twenty-minute, performance sessions.


During the event audience members were treated to a visual presentation demonstrating the device in action. That was followed by a performance of the Storm Speech from Shakespeare’s King Lear as performed by Thalian Hall Executive Director Tony Rivenbark.



And the grand finale was the actual full thunderstorm experience complete with rain and flickering lights. And the best part of all? No one got wet!





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