Performance Halted Due to Ill Audience Member at Opening-Night Performance at London's National

News   Performance Halted Due to Ill Audience Member at Opening-Night Performance at London's National
An audience member became seriously ill during the closing minutes of the National Theatre's production of Harley Granville Barker's Waste at its press-night opening Nov. 10.

The performance was stopped, and medical help was sought, after which the play resumed and concluded. 

In a statement, the National Theatre reported, "During the final scene of Waste last night, a gentleman in the audience was taken ill. The performance was stopped after an announcement by the stage manager, an ambulance called and the gentleman was immediately attended by two doctors in the audience and the NT's in-house medical staff. A paramedic from the emergency services arrived after 10 minutes and also treated the gentleman. After another 10 minutes, in consultation and agreement with the paramedics and the gentleman's family, the performance resumed for its final four minutes while we waited for the ambulance to arrive. The gentleman was taken to hospital after the performance. We are very grateful to the medical and emergency teams for their swift expertise, especially the doctors in the audience who assisted; our thanks also to the audience, cast, stage management and staff for their calm understanding and patience. Above all, we send our very best wishes to the poor gentleman for his recovery; we'll keep in touch with his family."

Several critics referenced the incident in their reviews. In the Daily Mail, Quentin Letts reported, "The opening night took a distressing turn when a member of the audience was taken seriously ill in the final scene."

For details of the play and to book tickets for future performances, visit

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