Theatre News

Piccadilly Theatre evacuated after ceiling collapse during Death of a Salesman

Audience members injured as show was stopped mid-performance

Wendell Pierce and cast in Death of a Salesman
Wendell Pierce and cast in Death of a Salesman
© Brinkhoff Mogenburg

Death of a Salesman was stopped mid-performance last night after a portion of the Piccadilly Theatre ceiling collapsed and injured several audience members.

The 1,200-capacity venue was evacuted at around 8pm – 30 minutes in to the show – and emergency services arrived on the scene shortly after.

Audience members reported hearing dripping sounds shortly after the start of the show, indicating that water was coming through the ceiling. The sound got louder after a few minutes before eventually a section of the ceiling crashed in onto the auditorium.

Three men and two women were treated at the scene by paramedics, with four being taken to hospital and one discharged after initial assessment. A further two people declined treatment at the venue. The Metropolitan police have closed the roads to the surrounding area and advised motorists to use alternative routes.

The Ambassador Theatre Group – which runs the venue – tweeted last night: "ATG take the safety and security of our audiences extremely seriously and we are doing everything possible to ascertain the cause of the incident. We would like to sincerely thank the audiences, our staff, and emergency services for all of their assistance in the evacuation."

The Young Vic has this afternoon publicised three special, scratch performances of the play at their venue to run on 8 and 9 November. The performances at the Piccadilly Theatre for the remainder of the week have been cancelled, with ticket holders in the process of being contacted to make arrangements for these substitute shows.

Pierce added: "Firstly, I hope those injured last night in the incident are recovered and healing. Their wellbeing is the most important thing. I am also so grateful that the Death of a Salesman company is able to continue performances of Arthur Miller's great play. The mighty audience response has been overwhelming, and I would like to thank the Young Vic for enabling us to continue on this special journey. In the time-honoured tradition of the theatre, the show must go on."

A similar event occurred at the Apollo Theatre in 2013, when 80 people were injured after the ceiling collapsed during a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Further performances of this Olivier Award-winning show were cancelled and the production moved to the Gielgud Theatre for the remainder of its run.