Tuesday, May 17

Man falls from theatre balcony during performance of Grease



A teenager is in hospital after jumping off a balcony during a theatre performance and landing on a spectator.

The 18-year-old male is thought to have been watching Grease at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool when he plunged off the edge around 9.30pm.

Audience members were said to have shouted and screamed as they watched him land on top of the female spectator.

Robert Simmill, who was at the performance with his mother, girlfriend and her mother, told the Telegraph he saw a body fall 10 minutes into the second half.

The 17-year-old, from Lancaster, said: “There was a loud thud as he hit the centre aisle. Everyone around got up and started screaming and shouting.

People from the audience were shouting at the actors to stop. I looked up to the third tier as I was in the stalls and saw people crying.

We were all told to evacuate through the exits. There were stories about his fainting and falling but others were saying he jumped.

I saw people shaking around me, even I was shaking from the shock. I saw some of the theatre staff with their hands on their heads just staring into mid space with shock all over their face.

Others reacted on social media. Duncan Hodgson wrote on Twitter: “Wow horrible news about incident @Grand_Theatre. Thoughts to staff, performers @bfloc, the lad involved and all the audience. Very sad.”

The teenager, who has not yet been named, was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The Grand Theatre wrote on Twitter yesterday: “We can confirm an incident @Grand_Theatre this evening. Police/ambulance service attended, performance was abandoned.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Police confirmed they were called to the incident around 9.30pm but said they were no longer involved in the incident.

They said: “We were called at 9.30pm last night to the report that a man, 18, had jumped from a balcony at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool during a show.

“As he landed, he caught the shoulder of a woman on the end of one of the rows, however, she was uninjured and did not require medical attention.

“The ambulance service attended and the man was taken to Royal Preston Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.”

Friday’s evening performance and Saturday’s matinee and evening performance are expected to go ahead as scheduled.

Phil Chapman, Chairman of Blackpool and Fylde Light Opera Company, said: “This has obviously been a shocking and upsetting incident. Thankfully, we understand his injuries are not life-threatening and our thoughts are with the young man and his family.

“After consulting both members of the production company and the theatre staff, together we have decided that the show will go on.”

Ruth Eastwood, Chief Executive of the Grand Theatre, said the theatre us working with the authorities.

“This has been a very difficult situation for all concerned,” she said.

“The theatre is working with all the relevant authorities to investigate the matter with due diligence. Lots of hard work has gone into creating the show and the company and the young man’s family have received numerous messages of support via social media and the theatre will offer any support we can.”