A stage manager is fighting for £200,000 compensation after he claims an accident involving scenery at the Royal Opera House left him with psychological damage and unable to work.
Gary Crofts said he experienced a nervous breakdown following the incident in 2016 when a piece of stage curtain weighing half a ton crashed down “in the immediate vicinity” to him with no warning.
Solicitors representing Crofts said the experience had caused particular trauma because he had also been involved in an accident at the venue two years earlier when part of a gate fell on him.
Crofts suffered “significant physical and psychiatric injury” after the first incident, including post-traumatic stress disorder and social withdrawal.
His solicitors said these symptoms had been exacerbated by the second experience, resulting in an anxiety that had made work impossible.
Crofts is now suing the Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation for £200,000.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Opera House said it was “not able to discuss this case currently as it is a court matter”. However, it is understood that the organisation denies liability for both incidents.
Vincent Reynolds of Thompsons Solicitors, which is representing Crofts, said: “The stage and screen industry is fast-moving and pressurised, which means a clear and robust risk assessment regime is essential. Mr Crofts had two potentially life-threatening accidents at work, which thankfully he survived, but he has been left with lifelong physical injuries as well as psychological trauma. He has lost his career with the Royal Opera House.
“Thompsons Solicitors is working with BECTU on a claim for Mr Crofts that we expect to be successful.”
In 2014, a stage manager was awarded £3.7 million in compensation following an accident at the Soho Theatre.