Join us for the 3rd Annual Thunder Roll Event!

Travel back in time and experience the drama of the 19th century with America’s only operating Thunder Roll.

What is that you ask? The Thunder Roll is a sound effect machine from the 1800s that originally used cannon balls rolling down what look like wooden troughs to affect a unique result. These narrow, zigzagging shoots, are positioned way up in the rafters. The resulting, cascading rumble, has been imitating the sound of a thunder storm to the delight of generations of audiences.

On Saturday, August 10th at 11am, 1pm or 3pm, you are invited to come experience this one-of-a-kind phenomenon for FREE! So, come in from the summer heat with your family and friends. This is an event you will not experience anywhere else in the country. Memories are made when the thunder rolls at Thalian Hall!


Refreshments will be available and we'll also have a HUGE SALE on Thalian Hall gift shop merchandise!

General admission. Reservations not required and tickets will not be issued.

For questions or more information please call 910-632-2289.


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 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, 2017, 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