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London's Piccadilly Theatre evacuated after partial ceiling collapse

Part of the ceiling of London's Piccadilly Theatre collapsed Wednesday shortly after a production of Death of a Salesman got underway.

Production of Death of a Salesman was underway

People look at the collapsed roof of Piccadilly Theatre during Death of a Salesman in London on Wednesday. (Kieran Dunn/Reuters)

A partial ceiling collapse at London's Piccadilly Theatre on Wednesday evening halted a performance of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, causing a few minor injuries and forcing the audience to leave.

Police were called just before 8 p.m. local time to the West End theatre where American actor Wendell Pierce was starring as Willy Loman in a production of the 1949 play.

Journalist Martin George said there were screams coming from the audience as part of the ceiling came crashing down. He said that afterward "everyone got up and streamed down the stairs."

"Everyone is out of the theatre. A few people have suffered minor injuries," police said in a statement. London Fire Brigade said 1,100 people were forced to leave after a section of plaster fell from the ceiling.

"I did not mean for it to go like this," Pierce, known for his work in the TV show The Wire and the 2014 film Selma, "told theatergoers in a video posted on Twitter.

"I'd like to thank you all for safely evacuating. We apologize and we're glad that no-one's hurt."

The theatre opened in 1928 as a cinema. It was reopened as a venue for live theatre and performance the following year. 

With files from The Associated Press and CBC News

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