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Life on a String: The Yale Puppeteers and the Turnabout Theatre Audio Tour


10. Charles Taylor, Turnabout Theatre Model, Ca. 1950s


In the early 1970s, long after the Turnabout Theater had closed, Charles Taylor built this model of the space as part of a student assignment. You can easily spot the theater on the far end of the model, with the puppet stage on one side and the live stage on the other.


The theater had some interesting characteristics about it. It had two balconies, one as you entered. Anybody who had the private seats up here would come up either the left or the right stairway. The right stairway went over the ticket office which was in the back. The other balcony was a false balcony and those had mannequins in there.

The balconies had little doors on them and each one was called a box, like a candy box. […] The artwork in the building was done by Katie Cahill. And she drew the beautiful carousel horses on the front door. When I visited to make the model, I could still see the horses under the black lacquer. The paint was thick enough that you could still tell they were there.


The interior walls of the theater were painted in a soft salmon color, which beautifully offset the embroidered blue seats. The theater comfortably fit 180 people, and in its early years it was sold out for months in advance.