Asbestos discovered in the auditorium of Bloomsbury Theatre

Asbestos discovered in the auditorium of Bloomsbury Theatre

Asbestos found in UCL Bloomsbury Theatre

UCLU Arts societies probably thought their situation could not get any worse after UCL announced the Bloomsbury Theatre’s 18-week closure, starting January 2016. Not so! Things have indeed taken a turn for the worst.

The theatre is now closed after asbestos was found in the building. Workers renovating the theatre alerted authorities after fibres were found in the rafters of the auditorium, including the most dangerous strand, amosite, which is linked to cancer and asbestosis.

Asbestos is traditionally used by theatres to help with soundproofing, and the fibres found were “known asbestos”, a spokesperson for UCL told the London Evening Standard.

“UCL has a stringent process to manage asbestos in a compliant manner and, as such, the planned building works will now take longer than anticipated to complete. Performances scheduled in August will be cancelled and further implications are unclear at this time.”

Four student productions are due to take place in the Bloomsbury Theatre during term one from 19 November – 5 December. Though some are alarmed by this turn of events, other Arts members simply assume UCL Estates will have to sort out their asbestos problem and get the theatre back up and running before any shows are due to take place.

It would appear that this optimism is well placed; although some upcoming shows have been cancelled, The Adam Carolla Show is currently due to go ahead on September 10 as planned. An internal communication to Bloomsbury production teams also encouraged them not to panic; after all, the first student production of the year is three months away.

For now, UCLU Arts societies can do nothing but hope that the theatre will reopen soon.

Image credits: Frankie Robeto

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