London’s Garrick Theatre Evacuated Mid-Performance
Just two years after a roof collapse sent dozens of London theater-goers to the hospital mid-performance, London’s West End found itself dealing with a similar and yet very different situation this week. Thankfully, this time around a mixup was the cause of the chaos allowing audience members to only return to the performance they were attending but head home later that night safe and sound. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the news that London’s Garrick Theatre was evacuated earlier this week as fear of a collapse took over the audience mid-performance!
It was a normal Tuesday night in London’s West End earlier this week. Curtains around the theatre district had just rose for the night and performances were beginning to get underway. However, at London’s Garrick Theatre about half an hour into the performance of Red Velvet, a cracking sound in the sound system sent audiences fleeing from their seats and running for the exits. Describe on twitter as a “mass rush for the exit” and “people frantically scrambled for the exits”, audience members reportedly made a run for the doors fearing a repeat situation that occurred at The Apollo Theatre in December 2013. In that case, the roof of the theatre collapsed mid-performance of the Olivier Award winning The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The NightTime. 88 people were injured in that incident and the Apollo remained closed until March 2014. The Apollo and Garrick Theatres both share the same owners, Nimax Theatres. Thanks to Twitter user @KevinPoulter for the photo above of the audience following the evacuation.
At the Garrick, once it was discovered the sound system was the chaos of the “cracking sound” and there was indeed no structural issues with the building, everyone returned to their seats and the performance resumed. Twitter user @Queerily tweeted out this photo (Left) of audience members outside the theatre less than an hour after the curtain went up. Many praised the staff of the theater for their handling of the situation. Many at the theatre, onstage and in the audience, tweeted about the incident with tweets such as the following;
Edward Snape, a theatre producer, released a statement on the situation that unfolded Tuesday night at The Garrick saying;
“It was a technical fault with the sound equipment which one or two members of the audience mistook for fire crackers and that caused more people to come out. Clearly everyone is vigilant and so the show stopped for a little while.”
London’s Garrick Theatre was built in 1889 and is named after the famous stage actor David Garrick. In its early days of business, it was mostly associated with melodramas while it is now best known for housing comedies. It was designed by Walter Emden and today seats 656 people. It originally sat 800 but the upper most balcony has since been closed reducing that capacity. The theatre was restored in 1986 and it’s facade was renovated. To this day, it’s interior includes many of its original features and designs.
Luner Lowdown: A frightening situation this week in London for all involved. I can only imagine the fear the audience experience and can’t blame them given the situation London experienced first hand just over two years ago. It doesn’t help that The Garrick is owned by the same owners of The Apollo. Nonetheless, I am happy to hear everyone is safe and the issue proved to be something in the sound system and not the building itself. Just in December 2014, Nimax Theatres was cleared of charges in the Apollo Theatre collapse (Pictured Above Right) that injured nearly 100 people. It was found, following a 12 month study, that the collapse came from the age of the structure and no laws were broken or neglected leading to the incident on Nimax’s behalf.
Luner on Theater will keep you updated on London’s theatre scene with all the news you need to know ranging from its theaters to onstage productions. For more London theatre news, visit Luner on Theatre’s London Lookout Page. For more information on The Garrick, visit Nimax’s Official Website, Facebook or Twitter. (Please note; Unless a photo is noted to be taken by Luner on Theatre, we do not own/claim ownership for any photos used in this post.) And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and so much more!