Man dies at Basildon's Towngate Theatre, forcing tribute show starring Dolly Parton to end early

Country Superstars - a show featuring a Dolly Parton tribute act - was being performed at Towngate Theatre in Basildon, Essex. Credit: Youtube / Country Superstars Theatre Tour 2022

A tribute concert featuring a Dolly Parton impersonator ended early after a man fell ill and died.

Bosses at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon in Essex said staff on Thursday were dealing with a large group of "noisy and aggressive people" who were refusing to leave.

At the same time, a man fell ill and paramedics were called. He later died.

Organisers said both incidents were unrelated to each other and it would not normally end a show early "unless it was absolutely essential".

Country Superstars - a show featuring multiple tribute acts including Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers - was being performed as part of its UK tour.

A spokesman for Towngate Theatre and Country Superstars said: "Unfortunately, we experienced two serious incidents during the performance of Country Superstars [on Thursday], which resulted in us having no alternative option but to extend the first half of the performance end then end the performance earlier than anticipated.

"This was a highly unusual situation; we would never curtail a show unless it was absolutely essential.

"Our team were handling a large group of noisy and aggressive people who refused to leave, which caused a disruption and health and safety issues.

"While this was happening, in an unrelated incident a gentleman fell ill and paramedics were called. Despite the best efforts of the Towngate team and paramedics, sadly he passed away.

"We hope that helps explain why we had no alternative option but to stop the show. We apologise if the seriousness of the incidents weren't conveyed clearly at the time, it was a highly stressful situation for everyone involved. We will be contacting all bookers early next week.

"I'm sure you will want to join the Towngate Theatre Team and The Country Superstars company in offering our sincere condolences to the bereaved family."

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