Alban Arena panto performances cancelled due to asbestos

Snow White at the Alban Arena has been postponed until after December 22.

Snow White at the Alban Arena has been postponed until after December 22. - Credit: Pamela Raith

EVERY performance of the Alban Arena pantomime between now and December 22 has been cancelled due to a "potential asbestos-related issue" in the 1960s building.

Disappointed theatregoers were sent away from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs last night after the venue was closed as an emergency safety measure.

Tony Marmo, head of commercial and development at St Albans district council explained: “Last night’s panto at the Alban Arena had to be cancelled at short notice so that the council could deal with a potential asbestos-related issue that emerged yesterday. 

“A building condition survey recommended a number of additional technical tests which were subsequently commissioned.  The results of the tests were received late yesterday afternoon and one of them has indicated a need for further investigation. 

“The council asked 1Life, which runs the theatre on its behalf, to cancel Thursday’s performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as a safety precaution. 

“The council is meeting with contractors at the theatre today to find out the extent of the situation and to work out how long the theatre needs to remain closed.

“We are very sorry indeed for the inconvenience and disappointment that this will mean for families and friends, especially after the year everyone has had. 

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“Unfortunately, though the risks are thought to be very low as no airborne particles have been detected, with asbestos we need to take swift action as a safety precaution. We will know more when our contractors have completed their investigations.

“We are working with our partners 1Life to keep people updated and will confirm whether other performances will be impacted as soon as possible, but at this stage we can confirm all performances up to and including Wednesday December 22 have been regretfully cancelled.

"1Life will be in contact with all affected ticket holders within the next few days with their options. The opportunity to move tickets to the Aladdin panto currently running at the Eric Morecambe Centre in Harpenden is immediately available for ticket holders who wish to take up this opportunity.”

Lauren Morley had intended to celebrate her 22nd birthday with a special trip to the theatre when her mother received a call to say the show was cancelled.

Mum Jan, 64, who lives in Marshalswick, said: “All the Brownies were standing outside crying when I went to collect Lauren to tell her the bad news, as the Arena obviously couldn’t get to everyone in time.

“I’m just so gutted that it’s ruined her birthday. I had put her name in the birthday book for a shout out. Her friend is in the show so it was going to be even more meaningful.

“I don’t understand though because the afternoon show went ahead.”

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