Round and Round and Round — Part 2: Revolves and Theatre Cats

LADY, THEATRE CATPrrrrrt? Sir and I have noticed that the Starry one hasn’t posted for a couple of weeks, so we’re taking over today. I’ll be the spokes-cat, but we both had a paw in this post.

She was talking about round things, so we’re going to take you on stage and underneath the stage, to talk about a round thing. The best kind of round things are cushions and food dishes, but this is something very different.

Some stages use a turntable or a revolve to help change the set. Imagine a merry-go-round without the horses or roof, just the spinning platform. That’s prrrrrretty close to what a revolve is like. I was standing on one once when it started to turn. Even though it didn’t turn fast, it sure made me dig my claws in! If you’ve seen a Lazy Susan on a table, that’s the same idea, too. (Click that link, there’s a kitten!)

In the theatre, sometimes sets have to be changed verrrrrrry quickly — faster than a cat can pounce. At times like that, it’s helpful to use a revolve on the stage. One set can be on one side of the turntable, and another set on the other side. Then, instead of the crew having to carry everything from the first set off the stage, and then put everything for the second set in place, they just spin the revolve.

Here’s how a revolve/turntable works. It’s a cool video, but WARNING! You might get dizzy watching it. I’m digging my claws into the computer keyboard just thinking about that thing going around! Ready? Got those claws dug in? Okay, here’s the video, from the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Notice at the end they show the different sets on the revolve.

It isn’t just prrrrrrrrofessional theatres that use revolves. Here’s a temporary turntable built for a school production. The words are pretty technical (even for a theatre cat) but the pictures tell the story. Here’s another temporary turntable built for a high school production of Les Miserables. (Mrrrrrow! Les Mis is by the same composer who wrote CATS!)

When the Starry one was doing research for one of her books, she learned about a HUGE drum revolve at the Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre Centre in London, England. It is, paws down, the most gigantic turntable a theatre cat could imagine. It’s really two revolves, one inside the other, like a donut and its hole. The most amazing ameowzing thing is that the machinery that works it goes five whole stories below the stage. That’s a lot of steps for a cat to walk down. Or up. Bet it makes the plays there purrrrrrrrrfectly wonderful!

Here’s an article from the London Telegraph newspaper about it.

And here’s the best part. On the National Theatre’s website, they have a video about the drum revolve. Take a look at all there is going on underneath the stage. WAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOWWWWWW!

And now I think I need to find a nice round cushion to curl up on, close my eyes, and wait until the world stops spinning around me.

Have a purrrrrrfect day!

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  1. Cool post, and behind (or below) the scenes look at stage productions. I’m sure The Guthrie has used this, as well as the Children’s Theater. They also use slides (non technical term) to pull set pieces on and off.

    1. I expect the Guthrie has used revolves. Likely the Children’s Theatre, too. They’re very useful things.

      I love getting (and giving) behind the scenes looks at how things work in the theatre!

  2. I know a lot about library and bookshop cats but not about theatre cats. What fun! I do love the photo of Sir in his Tux!

    1. Theatre cats are very helpful in keeping down the mouse population in theatres and they become mascots of the theatre. There aren’t as many of them these days as there used to be.

      Sir loves wearing his tux — he wears it even on Casual Day!

    1. Oh cool! I’ve never been to Disneyworld, so I’ll have to google the Carousel of Tomorrow. Thanks, Erik!

  3. Ahhhh!! Purrrrfectly marvelous!!!! Fascinating and fun. And wonderful links! I’ve never seen a revolve in person but have always been intrigued by behind-the-scenes workings. This was super!

    Please say Hi to The Starry One for me. I haven’t been online much for months. ::waves::


    1. Purrrfectly delighted to see you, Robin! The Starry One returns your greetings!

      ::waves a paw::

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