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News: Tyne Theatre & Opera House receive historic theatre machinery


Tyne Theatre & Opera House receive historic theatre machinery


On the morning of Thursday 20 October, a large collection of historic theatre machinery arrived at the Tyne Theatre & Opera House Stage Door on Thornton Street. 

During the conversion of the Tyne Theatre & Opera House to a cinema in 1919, the theatre’s own overhead stage machinery was removed. Now, thanks to a grant from National Lottery Heritage Fund, the theatre has been able to purchase this wooden machinery dating from 1863, which has been in storage for over 30 years. The machinery will be restored by Master Carpenter Colin Hopkins and his team before being reinstated above the theatre’s fly floor. With this in place the scenic flats will once again be able to be worked by a team of volunteers, allowing authentic historic performances to take place at the Tyne Theatre & Opera House and establishing the venue as a centre of excellence for traditional stagecraft and performance.

Arrival of machinery at Thornton Street on Thursday 20 October
Photo: TT&OH

Project Director David Wilmore said “We are delighted to begin the restoration of this unique equipment, which we intend to complete before we hold an international conference in September 2023. This will be attended by an audience of theatre practitioners, performers and historians who will see the machinery in operation.”

Once fully restored, the machinery will be operated by a team of volunteers. If you have experience of stagehand work, and would be interested in getting involved please contact

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