The Apollo Theatre will reopen today three months after a ceiling collapse injured 76 people. A chunk of plaster crashed in the audience during violent thunder storms in December 2013. The theatre has been closed since the incident.
Originally home to the production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, the Apollo will now show romantic horror Let the Right One In. The opening today will be the debut of a production by the National Theatre of Scotland
Following notification from Westminster City Council that the failure of historic hessian wadding ties might be implicated in the collapse of the ceiling at the Apollo, theatres and other historic buildings have acted accordingly says the Society of London Theatre.
Theatre owners in the West End take the safety of all theatregoers and staff extremely seriously, and acted quickly to recheck all their buildings, and continue to absorb all the guidance arising out of the investigation. Discussions also continue between SOLT, English Heritage, the Association of British Theatre Technicians and Westminster’s Health & Safety Executive on the issues raised. All theatres have up to date certificates in line with the licensing requirements.
Westminster Council has said that the collapse of the ceiling of the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue last December was caused by the deterioration of century-old cloth and plaster ties holding up timber frames.
The incident during the Curious Incident of the Dog at Night Time injured 80 members of the audience when 10 square yards of plaster plummeted on to the stalls below, and forced the closure of the grade II-listed theatre.
The ties, made of hessian and plaster of Paris, were used to lash together timber frames to support the suspended ceiling and had been in place since the theatre opened in 1901.
The Apollo will re-open this week for the first time since December 19.
We are grateful to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres for providing us with another home on Shaftesbury Avenue for the show, which has played to full houses at the Apollo since it transferred there last March.
It will be a real wrench to leave that beautiful theatre, but sadly the closure of the gallery to enable its restoration means that the show no longer works economically there. We look forward to renewing our relationship with Nimax Theatres on another show in the future.