The Birmingham Repertory theatre has been evacuated following an explosion, West Midlands police have said.
A statement from the force posted on Twitter said: “All emergency services are currently at Birmingham’s Repertory Theatre, Broad St following reports of an explosion. Initial indications are that this was a technical fault in a staff only area. No casualties are reported. Everyone has been evacuated and are being kept safe.”
A further statement said that businesses on Broad Street remain open and that the explosion happened in the basement of the theatre. West Midlands fire service confirmed it was supporting police with the incident.
Charles Harry was watching a performance of Brief Encounter at the theatre when the incident took place. He described the explosion as huge and “very disturbing”.
He said: “Midway through the first half we all heard a loud explosion. It actually made the audience jump as it shook our seats. The show carried on for a minute or so but then we heard alarms sounding outside in the foyer.”
He and the other audience members were escorted outside and were asked to congregate at the side of the theatre. He then saw ambulances and police cars arriving at the scene from Broad Street.
He added: “[The explosion] sounded as if it came from behind the Rep. Initially, I thought it was falling scenery backstage. There was no panic and theatre security and front of staff were calm and professional throughout.”
The area remains cordoned off and all roads around the theatre and the Library of Birmingham are closed.
Police are advising people to stay away from the area and that diversions are in place.