52 theaters undergo safety inspections in London following Apollo Theatre ceiling collapse

By Samantha Ravenscroft,

All 52 of London's West End theaters were inspected by authorities on Friday in an attempt to reassure patrons that the venues are safe. These inspections occurred after 79 people were injured by chunks of falling plaster at the Apollo Theatre.

The local authorities reported that the safety inspections revealed no immediate problems.

"Making sure people are safe when they come to the West End is an absolute priority," said council leader Philippa Roe, according to the Associated Press.

Criminal activity has been ruled out as a possible cause for the partial ceiling collapse that had occurred on Thursday evening. It is possible that an intense rainstorm that took place an hour before was a factor.

Witnesses described the event as chaotic as parts of the ceiling fell into the audience not even an hour into the show. "I thought, maybe this is part of the play," said witness Scott Daniels, an American tourist. "All of a sudden, plaster starts raining down, huge hunks of plaster ... The lights went out and everything filled with dust — everybody was coughing and choking."

This is the worst accident in London's main theater district in 40 years, according to Reuters. In 1973, part of a ceiling at the Shaftesbury Theatre fell, forcing the closing of a musical production.

The National Theatre, producers of the show that was playing at the Apollo, Curious Incident, said performances have been canceled through Jan. 4.

Image:Wikimedia Commons


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