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YouTube pranksters break into National Theatre and stay overnight

The National Theatre on London's South Bank. Photo: Philip Vile The National Theatre on London's South Bank. Photo: Philip Vile
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The National Theatre’s security has come under scrutiny after intruders broke into the building at night and scaled the inside of the Olivier’s flytower.

In an online video, two men, one of whom is YouTube personality Ally Law, can be seen entering the National late at night through an unlocked door. They subsequently make their way into the Olivier and its backstage area, before climbing up the inside of its flytower and on to lighting rigs.

They are approached by security while on the set of Follies but claim they are rehearsing and are left alone. The 16-minute video then purports to show the two men sleep backstage and leave the next morning.

After the video was posted on December 18, those reacting on social media questioned how intruders had been able to enter the building without difficulty and obtain access to the theatre’s inner workings.

Choreographer Darren Carnall described the incident as an “utter disgrace” and tweeted that it was “disturbing” given the present climate around security.

Others called on the National to step up its security following the incident, which occurred on a Saturday night.

Responding to the video, Liz Fosbury, chief operating officer at the NT, said: “The safety and security of everyone at the National Theatre is of the utmost importance. We were shocked and concerned that two intruders recently put themselves at great risk by gaining unauthorised access to a restricted area of the building.

“We would like to reassure audiences that we have taken immediate action to further strengthen our security, we liaise with the police on an ongoing basis and we are working closely with the Met following this incident.”

The NT also responded to concerns on Twitter that the flytower and lighting rig may have been made unsafe by the pranksters, confirming that a “comprehensive check of all rigging and systems” had since taken place.