A couple of weeks ago, theatre goers were given a bit of a shock at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, during a performance of ‘The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time’, when the roof collapsed in on the audience, injuring about 80 people. Whilst this was widely reported in the press, upon deeper investigation it appears that the 112 year old grade 2 listed building has been in a state of disrepair for years. One line of inquiry being considered for the collapse is that excess water during a torrential downpour may have been the cause.
Although the present owners have fulfilled their obligations in respect of health and safety checks (the last inspection was in September 2013), Nica Burns, co-owner and chief executive of Nimax Theatres, which runs the building, said in an interview last year that it had a budget of just £2.45m to restore its five West End playhouses. That was funded by a £1 restoration levy on tickets at the theatres, which the company said was spent entirely on upkeep and maintenance work once VAT was paid.
Speaking to Theatres Magazine, Ms Burns said: “Before we could start on the improvements, we had to address the damp. Water attacks the building from above and below.” The restoration work carried out included new £120,000 customer toilets and a makeover for four carved stone muses on the rooftop, she told the magazine.
In 2000, previous owner Andrew Lloyd-Webber, who sold the Apollo to Nimax in 2005, told the Times newspaper: “The Apollo in particular is a shocking place. I suggested that both it and the Lyric should be knocked down and replaced by top-quality modern theatres.” The composer and musical theatre impresario complained that his plans for a black-box auditorium inside the existing plasterwork had been opposed by English Heritage.
Whatever the truth, there are clearly going to be some insurance payouts, not only on the grade 2 listed buildings insurance, but on the public liability insurance no doubt, as some of the 80 casualties were injured seriously, and also on the theatre’s business interruption insurance as I’m certain the theatre staff and actors will still want paying and the overheads will still be the same, even though the theatre is still missing the revenue of 700 people per performance.
One thing is clear though, if you run any form of business, the consequences of an incident can impact on different aspects of your insurance so it’s always best to be covered for every eventuality. So whether you’re looking for a full business insurance package or simply grade 2 listed buildings insurance, come to Comparecrazy.com. The business insurance comparison site!
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