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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 October, 2003, 05:21 GMT 06:21 UK
Inquiry into theatre stage collapse
Sound of Music fans
Some fans had dressed in costume for the Sound of Music show
An investigation has been launched after a theatre stage collapsed, injuring up to 20 people in Birmingham.

Three people are believed to have been seriously injured in the accident at Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre on Tuesday night.

Part of the stage collapsed just before a performance of the Sound of Music when members of the audience were invited to join in a song on stage.

Inspector Paul Ford from West Midlands police said the people fell about 20 feet in to the orchestra pit.

Some had leg and arm injuries and some complained of back pain.

"[The injuries are] of varying degrees, but nothing is life-threatening."

Police had secured the scene for health and safety officials.

Alexandra Theatre
There were about 30 or 40 people on the stage and as they walked forward to the area which covers the orchestra, the stage collapsed.
Julie Wadeson, audience member

Inspector Ford said that when he arrived: "Paramedics were reassuring people and it was very professionally dealt with.

"Fortunately there aren't that many serious injuries, it could have been a lot worse."

Julie Wadeson, a member of the audience, said it was the area which covered the orchestra that collapsed.

Ms Wadeson, from Sutton Coldfield, told BBC News Online that the audience was taking part in a "sing song" before the show.

"Members of the audience who were dressed as nuns were asked to get on the stage and take part in a sing song," she said.

"There were about 30 or 40 people on the stage and as they walked forward to the area which covers the orchestra, the stage collapsed.

"I thought it was part of the show until someone asked if there was a doctor in the house. I just couldn't believe it."

Ms Wadeson said the show was supposed to start at 1930 BST and she had been told they could get a refund for their tickets.

A police spokesman said the injured people were taken to Heartlands, Selly Oak and City hospitals in Birmingham.





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