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Five people injured as roof of London theatre partially collapses on audience

Five people injured as roof of London theatre partially collapses on audience
Copyright Kieran Duun/Samuel Rhydderch
Copyright Kieran Duun/Samuel Rhydderch
By Rachael Kennedy
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Several injuries were reported and more than a thousand people evacuated after the roof of a theatre in London's West End partially collapsed during a play.

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Five people have been injured and more than a thousand evacuated from a theatre in London's West End after its roof partially collapsed on the audience.

In a brief statement, the Metropolitan Police said "a few people" suffered minor injures, while the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) later confirmed that five audience members had been taken to hospital for treatment.

The fire brigade said it had also evacuated around 1,100 people from the building.

The incident, which happened at the 91-year-old Piccadilly Theatre on Wednesday night, halted a performance of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.

Photos captured from inside showed the audience staring up at a large hole in the roof, where it had collapsed.

"Started with some dripping that increased in rate until it all caved in," one person, Theo Carter, recalled on Twitter.

Another audience member, Helen Berresford, said: "Well that was eventful - the ceiling at the Piccadilly Theatre fell in whilst watching Death of a Salesman."

Berresford also shared a video showing the play's lead actor Wendell Pierce addressing the audience outside.

"I did not mean for it to go like this," he said, adding: "I would like to thank you all for safely evacuating.

"We apologise and we're glad that no one's hurt. And I ask you all to come back and see our production. We're so honoured that you came tonight. We're so sorry that this, unfortunately, this happened."

In a further statement, ATG said a section of plasterboard had fallen from the rear upper circle in the theatre.

It added: "ATG take the safety and security of our audiences extremely seriously and we are doing everything possible to ascertain the cause of the incident."

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