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Several theatregoers have suffered minor injuries after a ceiling collapsed at the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End.
Around 1,100 people were evacuated from the building during a performance of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman on Wednesday evening.
The Met Police was called to the venue on Denman Street at around 8pm after a section of plaster crashed into the auditorium.
Witnesses described hearing screams from audience members as more and more of the ceiling fell down.
Everyone filled the streets outside. (PA)
The Metropolitan Police said a “few” people had suffered minor injuries and that emergency services remained on the scene.
Journalist Martin George, 41, who was sitting in the Grand Circle, said there were screams coming from the audience as the plaster came tumbling down.
Part of the ceiling that came down at the Piccadilly Theatre (PA)
Mr George said: “About 10 minutes into the performance you could hear this slight dripping sound in the [Grand] circle and people were looking around, wondering what was happening, but the play carried on.
“As the minutes passed, the dripping became more frequent and it sounded like more water was coming through the ceiling, causing a few people to get up and move.
Firefighters outside the Piccadilly Theatre (PA)
“The sound eventually got so loud that we stood up and started to leave, as we were wondering what was going to happen.
“Then, as we stood up, this huge chunk of ceiling, about three to four metres across, crashed down.
“There were people screaming at that point and everyone got up and streamed down the stairs.”
Pictures posted to social media showed a gaping hole left above the seats as well as hundreds of audience members pouring into the street outside.
The venue is currently showing an adaptation of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, starring Wendell Pierce.
In a statement on Twitter, the Met’s City of Westminster Police said: “Police on scene with LAS & LFB at Piccadilly Theatre in Denman St #Westminster after reports of a ceiling collapse around 19:59hrs.
“Everyone is out of the theatre. A few people have suffered minor injuries. Road closures in place. Motorists advised to use alternative routes.”
London Fire Brigade that they are also on the scene, sharing a picture of the damaged roof on Twitter.
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They said: “A section of plaster has fallen from the ceiling during a performance. Around 1,100 people evacuated the theatre before we arrived.”
It is not the first time a ceiling has collapsed in one of London’s theatres.
In 2013, about 80 people were injured, seven seriously, after part of the Apollo theatre’s ceiling collapsed on top of them.
More than 700 people were inside the Shaftesbury Avenue venue, which was 45 minutes into the National Theatre’s performance of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, when the incident took place.