Soho Theatre had to be evacuated on Friday (10 July) due to the huge fire that broke out at the opposing Dean Street building. The blaze, which had to be tackled by over 100 firefighters, created a huge plume of smoke which was visible from Canary Wharf and billowed past buildings including the Whatsonstage.com offices at the Palace Theatre.

The venue was due to stage the second preview performance of Stella Feehily's new comedy Dreams of Violence, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, but at 3pm the entire building had to be evacuated as fire services were worried the blaze raging over the street was in danger of spreading to the theatre.

Along with hundreds of other workers in the area, the director and his cast took to the streets. But unlike most who then headed home for the day, Stafford-Clark and writer Feehily carried on giving notes and then began to run a few scenes.

A contact at Soho Theatre told Whatsonstage.com: “Everyone was more than willing to forge ahead and even though some of the more dramatic scenes between Paula Wilcox and Catherine Russell raised a few eyebrows at first, the crowds soon realized it was a show and seemed to quite enjoy the impromptu alfresco preview!"

Max Stafford-Clark said of the performance: “We came out into a crowd of people on Dean Street, with police shouting to keep moving - we turned off and went into Soho Square where we sat and I finished giving notes, and then we rehearsed a scene, much to the amusement of people around us.”

Both the Friday and Saturday performances had to be cancelled, but previews will recommence tonight, despite Dean Street still being closed to through-traffic. Dreams of Violence, a collaboration between Soho Theatre and Out of Joint, opens on Friday as part of a national tour.