Roof collapses in London theatre during show

Roof collapses in London theatre during show


norman lebrecht

December 19, 2013

Part of the roof of London’s Apollo Theatre came down during a performance of The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime.

The emergency services said more than 80 people have been injured. The theatre, built in 1901, accommodates 775 seated on four levels. Earlier reports said a balcony had fallen. Here’s the latest BBC report.




  • This must have been terrifying for everyone in the theatre, yet initially audience members reported that they thought it was “part of the show”.

    As was also reported, there were many children in the audience, so my thoughts are with all the families involved. At the age of 6, I was on a train that caught fire and it was not pleasant. My sister and I were praised for our courage. Children can be very courageous, but the effects of trauma tends to hit them after the event. I hope that the families are able to get the support they need as they come to terms with what happened to them.

    The best part of 80 people were injured, about 10 seriously. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them, their friends and loved ones as they recover from their injuries.

    The owners of the theatre were also shocked by what happened and have launched an immediate investigation into the cause. This is, of course, the responsible thing to do, yet I am also thinking of them as they come to terms with what happened.

    If it turns out that there could be problems with other establishments in the West-End, I trust that the theatre management will take steps to avoid a similar disaster. I have attended a show at the Apollo Theatre, it appeared well-maintained, and was (before its ceiling collapsed) a beautiful theatre.

  • Not often a show can claim that it really did bring the house down. In case anyone has seen the stand-up show on BBC1, “Live at the Apollo” and wondered whether it’s that building, no: that one is in Hammersmith — but I bet you someone there soon quips that it’s nice not to have a rival show, “Dead at the Apollo”.

  • Steve says:

    let’s be thankful that the falling debris was plaster and not concrete.

  • What does Andrew Lloyd Webber think he’s doing! He owned the theatre, sells it to the current owner, and now complains that English Heritage did not want him to box off the ornate plasterwork as that was one of the more important architectural features of this Edwardian Theatre.

    Did he maintain it properly, or given he has admitted to wanting to have the Grade II listed building pulled down, did he negect it? That is a huge question, and if I worked for Nymax now, one I’d be throwing in the direction of my solicitors!