‘Riot police’ storm musical at Palace Theatre, Manchester after audience sing over cast and brawl breaks out

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According to punters on Twitter, a performance of The Bodyguard at a Manchester theatre had to be cancelled when police arrived to a brawl over audience members trying to outsing the actors during the final song.

Police were called to the Palace Theatre in Manchester on Friday evening after a brawl broke out at a performance of The Bodyguard musical. According to theatre-goers on social media, the show had to be interrupted after members of the audience “started singing over the lead during the final song”, after which a ‘riot’ broke out and police were called to the scene.

In several pictures shared on Twitter, multiple police vehicles can be seen outside the Manchester city centre venue. One person said: "Cannot believe what I’ve just witnessed at the palace theatre watching the Bodyguard. A mini riot after the show was stopped because audience members were trying to sing over the cast. Police riot vans have been called in. Chaos."

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Another audience member said: "Seen a lot of reports about bad behaviour at the theatre lately, and wondered if they were a bit overblown. Anyway, at the Palace tonight and they had to stop the show during the first act to eject disruptive audience members.

"They’ve had to stop the show AGAIN during the finale because of people shouting out, screaming and being incredibly disruptive. Just unbelievably disrespectful to the actors. And they’re refusing to leave. This is horrendous. Never seen anything like it.

"They decided not to finish the performance because of the disruption. Feel so sorry for the whole cast. Respect to all the staff at the Manchester Palace for trying to deal with an incredibly difficult situation. Three police vehicles outside the theatre. Awful."

A third surprised audience member said: "Just been to watch the bodyguard at The Palace and a mini riot erupted during the big ending. Show cancelled, people being physically removed and fights in the aisles. All because you can’t sing along!!!!! Police at the scene!!! Utter madness."

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According to a local newspaper, some members of the audience were seen being taken out by police officers, with theatre-goers saying the show was cancelled with 10 minutes to go. Video footage shows two women being evicted from the theatre, with audience members heard clapping as they are forced to leave.

Actor Ayden Callaghan, who plays Frank Farmer in the production, said after the show: "Theatre pulled the show at the end tonight because of disgusting behaviour. We wanted to carry on but it had become a major incident. I’m really sorry to what was 99.9% a brilliant audience that a few badly behaved individuals ruined it."

The controversial ban on singing at the Manchester theatre had been discussed on ITV’s This Morning the previous day, with presenter Allison Hammond and Vanessa Feltz laughing about the prohibiting of audience participation. Multiple users have taken to Twitter to condemn the presenter’s behaviour in the clip.

The Palace Theatre musical mayhem comes after Edinburgh Playhouse director Colin Marr said his staff have been punched, spat on and pushed for asking people not to disturb fellow theatre-goers’ enjoyment of shows.

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