The Apollo Theatre, London, partially collapsed last night. It led to 81 “walking wounded” and at least seven others in a more critical condition, after the balcony collapsed and trapped many inside. Today, the police have confirmed that the collapse of the London theater was nothing criminal. Many of the city’s historical theaters are now being checked for safety reasons.
The collapse happened during the first half of The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-time. Audience members heard the balcony creak, but assumed that it was all part of the show. Shortly afterwards it collapsed. By-standers could only watch as they say officials helping people out of the building. Many were covered in dust with some bleeding, crying, and attempting to call their family members to explain the situation.
Police were called to investigate the scene right away. They deemed that it did not involve any criminal action, and the Westminster City Council has taken over. The investigators are now looking for the cause of the wreckage.
The Apollo Theater is one of the most popular theaters in the London West End. Firefighters estimate that 720 people were in the building at the time. With no fatalities, it definitely could have been much worse. Three people needed help after being trapped under debris and 56 were taken to the hospitals in the local area. Cuts and grazes were among the most common issues, but there were some with breathing problems, back injuries, and head injuries.
The question now lies into the cause of the collapses. With police confirming that nothing criminal was involved in the London theater collapse, there are now questions over the structure. It has led to an investigation into this Victorian building, along with others in the surrounding area.
This is not the first theater to suffer structural problems. In 1973, the Shaftsbury Theatre fell, bringing an end to the musical Hair. It was built in 1911.
Checks on all the theaters in the area are being carried out to make sure there are no other problems. However, officials do confirm that all safety checks were up to date that the time of the collapse. Incidents like this are rare, but that certainly does not mean impossible.
All theater owners are co-operating with the investigations as a way to prove to the public that the Victorian buildings are safe. Some of the buildings were built during the 1800s, although the Apollo was constructed in 1901.
There have been calls over the years for more investment into the buildings. Many are now aging and need updating to prevent issues like this. In 2003, a report headed by the Theatres Trust, stated that £250 million would be required to help update all of the West End’s theaters.
The people involved in the Apollo’s wreckage helped each other to get out of the building safely. Unlike many disastrous moments, it was not an “every man for himself” situation. Many witnesses have explained how they heard a creak and watched the middle of the balcony fall, confirming the police reports that the London theater collapse was nothing criminal.
By Alexandria Ingham