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Mechanical Design for the Stage by Alan Hendrickson

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31

Turntable Drives

Overview

Rotating scenery on a turntable, either for the dynamic visual effect they can provide, or to simply change scenes quickly in a blackout, is a relatively recent introduction into Western set design. The concept was imported into Germany in the late 19th century from Japan where turntables had been used in Kabuki theatre from the 1700s. In truth, turning platforms are documented in some Medieval and early Renaissance events, but they were forgotten after the development of the chariot and pole scene changing system in the early 1600s. Most German opera houses built in the last century have permanently installed turntables. These most often take the form of either a massive steel structure installed during the building’s ...

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