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Derby fire prompts renewed safety warning for theatres

The Hippodrome pictured in 2008. Photo: Theatres Trust The Hippodrome pictured in 2008. Photo: Theatres Trust
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A warning has been issued about the vulnerability of theatres to fire, with venues being urged to have security measures in place following this weekend’s incident in Derby.

The Theatres Trust has issued the alert following the third blaze to hit the Derby Hippodrome, which comes after last year’s fire at the Battersea Arts Centre in London and after a fire at the Assembly Rooms, also in Derby.

In a statement, the trust said: “Only a year after the BAC fire in London, this tragedy goes to show, once again, how vulnerable theatres are to fire. For those theatres that have been neglected by their owners and are at greater risk, it becomes doubly important to have foolproof safety and security measures in place.”

The advisory body also said it had “real concerns” about the future of the venue and that it was in contact with the local council to assess the damage to the grade II-listed building, which is also on the trust’s own Theatre Buildings at Risk register.

It added that it had been in Derby last week to discuss plans for a new venue in the town, following the closure of the Assembly Rooms last year after its own fire, and had been discussing “ways forward for the restoration of the Hippodrome” with the Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust.

The fire at the Hippodrome on March 6 required eight crews to tackle it.