Apollo Theatre ceiling collapses, rescue underway


London's Apollo Theatre is shown illuminated at night on March 29, 2012.


Oli Scarff

At least 76 are injured — seven seriously — after the ceiling partially collapsed during a performance Thursday at London's Apollo Theatre.

Police were called to the theater on Shaftesbury Avenue shortly after 8:15 p.m. Eight London Fire Brigade fire engines were also called to the scene.

The Brigade said the theater's plasterwork ceiling had come down, bringing part of the lighting rig with it.

A spokesman said the theater was almost full, with 720 people watching the performance.

Eyewitnesses said people were emerging from the theater covered in dust and blood.

"I was in the stalls with my family in the early stages of the show," Martin Bostock told Sky News. "I think the front part of the balcony fell down. At first we thought it was part of the show, it was very dramatic.

"We got out with cuts and bruises, I think most people did."

Another eyewitness told the BBC she heard a "cracking" shortly before the collapse.

Simon Usborne, a writer for the Independent who was in the theater, told ITV there was a "cloud" of dust obscuring the stage after parts of masonry appeared to fall away.

"There was panic, there was screaming," he said.

The incident occurred during a performance of "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time."