Owners of the Apollo Theatre in London have announced that Friday and Saturday’s scheduled performances of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time have been canceled following a partial collapse of the building’s ceiling Thursday evening.
The roof collapsed shortly after 8 pm, 40 minutes into the performance. More than 75 people were injured, seven seriously, but there were no fatalities. The building was evacuated within an hour.
“It could have been a lot worse — there were about 720 people in the auditorium at the time, and a large area of the ceiling came down,” London Fire Brigade’s Kingsland Station Manager Nick Harding said.
The Society of London Theatre said in a statement Friday that customers for the sold-out show should contact their point of contact for a refund or exchange.
“On behalf of London’s theater industry, our thoughts and sympathies go out to everyone who was injured and affected by last night’s incident at the Apollo Theatre,” the statement said.
The society also praised emergency responders “for their calm and rapid response and all the theater staff on Shaftesbury Avenue for their professional and compassionate handling of the situation.” It also said that incidents like the roof collapse are “extremely rare” and that Nimax Theatres, the company that owns the Apollo, is “working closely with the relevant authorities to establish exactly what happened.”
Investigators are also trying to determine what caused the ceiling to collapse. Some reports suggest that water dripped through cracks in the ceiling after a rainstorm. The Westminster City Council said the roof is now “secure” and that historic theatres are required to undergo rigorous roof safety checks every three years.
Mark Rubinstein, the Society of London Theatre president, told CNN he didn’t expect the Apollo Theatre roof collapse to affect London’s “booming” theater business.
“All of the other theaters are open tonight,” We are expecting business as usual. It’s the holiday season, it’s a very busy time of year and we expect our theaters to be full.”
[Image via Elliot Brown]