Fans injured as ceiling falls at gig

Phoenix Theatre, Bawtry.
Phoenix Theatre, Bawtry.
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TWO music fans were hurt when a folk and blues night quite literally brought the house down.

Plasterboard and water dropped on the pair as they took in the acts at the Phoenix Theatre in Bawtry.

Ambulances and police cars were sent to the scene, and both fans - who suffered cuts and bumps to the head - were taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary as a precaution.

They had been taking in a bill which included Yorkshire-based Scottish folk duo Fyrish, Leeds based jazz men Scratch Duo, resident band Best of Intentions, and singer, guitarist and raconteur John Millington.

The venue has recently been restored with work including a new roof.

Singer David Cowan, who had performed as one half of Fyrish, said the problem happened as the compere had just got on stage to introduce the second half of the show.

He said: “I was sitting near the front row waiting for the second half to start. The first thing we noticed was a jet of water coming down from the ceiling, and then bits of the ceiling started coming down, two or three yards away from where I was sitting.

“People started scrambling out. We helped a few older members of the audience out of their seats and away.

“People were scared when they saw bits of the ceiling coming down - there was no panic but there was a lot of anxiety.”

Tony Jones, chairman of Bawtry Amateur Dramatic Society which owns and runs the venue, said the two people hurt were allowed to leave the hospital before midnight.

“Part of the ceiling came down during a folk and blues concert, and two people were slightly injured and taken to hospital as a matter of routine,” he said. “They had suffered cuts and a bump on the head.

“It has been caused by an accumulation of water in the roof space over the ceiling.

“Everyone was very calm after the incident, and the place was evacuated very quickly.

“I understand water came down first and, as the ceiling split, some plasterboard came down. I think it was about two and a half plasterboards which fell.”

Mr Jones was called out after the incident to see what had happened.

He has since spoken to the two people who were injured and said they were “extremely laid back” about what had happened.

“I think one of them was more concerned about the theatre than they were about themselves,” he said.

Officials at the venue are now looking at getting the building repaired as soon as possible following the incident on Friday evening.

The cause of the damage is thought to have been a blockage in the air conditioning system, and the firm of engineers which installed it has offered to pay for the repairs to the ceiling and the system.

Work is expected to start on fixing the damage to the 72-seater venue soon.

The Phoenix Young Players youth theatre, which meets at the venue at weekends, will be switched to the theatre’s lounge until the work is done.

The next production at the theatre is due to be ’Allo ’Allo on November 10, and Mr Jones is confident repairs will have been completed by then.

The Station Road venue recently saw the end of essential repairs carried out to the roof. The project cost £70,000 and included converting the flat roof above the stage to a pointed one and replacing the old pitched roof above the auditorium.

Work also included a redesigned replacement roof over the auditorium and stage areas incorporating new storage space, supports for lighting, sound, electric film screen and curtain tracks, following a fundraising campaign aided by an Arts Council grant.