Andrew Lloyd Webber called for theatre to be demolished

The Apollo Theatre's previous owner, Andrew Lloyd Webber, warned that the building was in a "shocking" state 10 years ago and recommended that it should be demolished. The ceiling collapsed on Thursday night, injuring 79 people, nine seriously.

Former theatre owner: I said it should be knocked down

The Apollo Theatre's previous owner Andrew Lloyd Webber warned that the building was in a "shocking" state 10 years ago and recommended that it should be demolished, it was reported.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said the Apollo Theatre should have been knocked down in an interview 10 years ago Credit: PA

In 2000, Lord Lloyd-Webber, who owned sold the Apollo to Nimax in 2005, told The Times: "The Apollo in particular is a shocking place.

"I suggested that both it and the Lyric should be knocked down and replaced by top-quality modern theatres."

The composer and musical theatre impresario complained that his plans for black-box auditorium inside the existing plasterwork had been opposed by English Heritage.

When it listed the building in 1972, the public body cited the Apollo's "richly ornamental shallow domed ceiling on pendentives" as one of its stand-out features.

One of the lines of inquiry being considered is that excess water during a torrential downpour may have caused the collapse, after forecasters confirmed there was an abnormally high concentration of rain, hail and lightning in London on the night of the collapse.

Apollo Theatre handed back to owners following checks

Initial safety checks at a West End theatre where a ceiling collapsed onto members of the audience have concluded and the venue has been handed back to its owner, Nimax Theatres.

London's Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue has been handed back to its owner. Credit: PA

Nimax Theatres said that it is continuing to assist the authorities as they investigate why around 10 square metres of plaster from the Grade II-listed Apollo Theatre plummeted on to the stalls below, leaving 80 wounded.

A company spokeswoman said: "The relevant authorities handed the theatre back to Nimax at 4.30pm today which meant we could commence the process of carefully recovering and logging all personal effects left in the theatre following its evacuation and subsequently return them to their owners."

Westminster City Council added: "The building is safe for our investigators to go in but we cannot confirm if it is safe to open until our investigations are concluded."

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Police: No criminal act in London theatre collapse

The Metropolitan Police has said it is satisfied there was no criminal act involved in the ceiling collapse at the London Apollo theatre and the investigation will be continued by Westminster City Council.

Chief Superintendent Paul Rickett said: "Last night's emergency response demonstrates the true benefits of having tried and tested multi-agency plans. Alongside colleagues from the London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade we delivered a response that was swift and effective.

Police cordon off the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, central London. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

"I would like to thank the public who were caught up in the incident last night for their support that allowed us to get the job done.

"I know that due to the sudden way in which people had to leave the theatre they have left behind items of their property.

"The Apollo Theatre are working hard to ensure that property is collected and safely stored, however due to the damage inside the property and the steps that need to be taken next it may be some days before property can be returned. Thank you for your patience and understanding."

79 injured after London theatre ceiling collapses

Seventy-nine people were injured after the ceiling collapsed at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue last night, a London Ambulance Service spokesperson said.

Police cordon off the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, central London.
Police cordon off the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, central London. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

"By the time the scene had been completely cleared, we had treated 79 patients," the spokesperson said.

Of those patients, nine were seriously injured, they added.

London theatre ceiling collapse: Latest updates

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Two patients treated overnight after theatre collapse

Two patients remain in hospital in a stable condition following the ceiling collapse at London's Apollo Theatre, St Thomas' Hospital said.

Thirty-nine patients, including five children, were treated at the A&E department following the incident.

The remaining 37 were discharged throughout the night.

"The majority of patients had cuts and bruises, and a small number had fractures", the hospital said in a statement.

London theatre ceiling collapse: Latest updates

Director thanks theatre staff for 'heroic efforts'

The associate director of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time has thanked the actors, crew and front of house staff at the Apollo Theatre for their "heroic efforts" after the ceiling collapsed:

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Thoughts are with the injured this morning. Huge gratitude to the all of the front of house staff, cast and crew for their heroic efforts.

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Well that was not the day I expected when I started auditions this morning...to bed.

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Thank you for all the messages. Apollo and NT staff all safe.

London theatre ceiling collapse: Latest updates

Curious Incident actress 'very glad everyone got out'

An actress who was on stage when the ceiling collapsed at the Apollo Theatre in London said she was "very glad everyone got out".

Rakie Ayola, who plays Siobhan in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, told Wales Online: "I was on stage because we were all on stage most of the time. But the audience were the ones in danger because the ceiling above them was what came down.

Actress Rakie Ayola was playing Siobhan in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Actress Rakie Ayola was playing Siobhan in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Credit: Matt Crossick/PA Wire

"I was not hurt at all. I didn't have any dust on me or anything, but people came up covered in dust".

"It was as shocking as you would expect," she added.

London theatre ceiling collapse: Live updates

Structural assessment of theatre expected later today

Westminster City Council is expected to report on a structural assessment of London's Apollo Theatre this afternoon.

Westminster Council's cabinet member for community protection, Nicola Aiken, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "District surveyors have attended and declared that the ceiling structure is sound and only plaster fell.

Police stand outside the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in central London.
Police stand outside the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in central London. Credit: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

"We are waiting for the police to hand over the theatre to us as we are the health and safety authority for historic theatres in Westminster.

"We will be carrying out the investigation as to why the accident happened in the first place, but that will take some time."

London theatre ceiling collapse: Latest updates

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