London's Apollo Theatre Cancels Shows After Roof Collapse
Investigators are carefully exploring the venue to determine why part of the ceiling collapsed, injuring more than 75 people during a Dec. 20 performance of the hit play "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time."
LONDON -- Apollo Theatre owners have announced that Friday's and Saturday's scheduled performances of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time are canceled, after the partial collapse of the building's ceiling Thursday evening left more than 75 people injured, seven seriously.
On Friday, a statement from the Society of London Theatre said customers for the sold-out show should contact their point of purchase to arrange exchanges or refunds.
"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 took the opportunity to praise the emergency services in the British capital "for their calm and rapid response and all the theater staff on Shaftesbury Avenue for their professional and compassionate handling of the situation."
The exact cause of the ceiling collapse is still being investigated, and the theater owners, Nimax, are working closely with the relevant authorities to establish exactly what happened. Some reports suggest that water dripped through cracks in the West End venue's ceiling before it came down, as a winter rainstorm broke over the venue Thursday evening around 8 p.m.
Westminster City Council is expected to report later on a structural assessment of the Shaftesbury Avenue venue.
One line of inquiry will be the effect of adverse weather on the 100-year-old, Grade II-listed building.
The Society of London Theater said every theater undergoes "rigorous safety checks and inspections by independent experts," pointing to the fact that "incidents like last night are extremely rare."
The pre-Christmas holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for London theatergoing. The production of Curious Incident, adapted from Mark Haddon's 2003 novel about a 15-year-old mathematician with Asperger syndrome, is also among the most popular plays currently running in the West End. It transferred to the Apollo from the National Theatre in April, winning seven Olivier Awards, the U.K.'s top theater honors.
One insider told The Hollywood Reporter that the last thing theater owners want are empty houses. They hope the fear factor from last night's incident does not spread and keep people away.
The Society has reacted quickly to allay any worries, noting that at a meeting on Friday "all the major theater owners have confirmed that their safety inspections and certificates are up-to-date and will cooperate fully with the authorities to reassure the public that their theaters are safe."
All other London theaters remain open for business on Friday and in the coming weeks.
A large section of ornate plasterwork at the Apollo fell onto the audience during Thursday evening's performance.
The Society of London Theater said its members host over 32,000 people in central London across its network of venues every night.
The National Theatre and Apollo Theatre will advertise details regarding the future status of performances at the Apollo "once this is known."
Ticket holders for the canceled performances can choose another show for free by presenting their ticket at local London ticket outlets.