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Drama at the theatre as man collapses during final performance

PUBLISHED: 14:15 13 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:51 13 October 2019

Ipswich's New Wolsey Young Company were performing The Laramie Project during the incident Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

Ipswich's New Wolsey Young Company were performing The Laramie Project during the incident Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

www.mikekwasniak.co.uk

It was a dramatic curtain call at the New Wolsey Studio's after a man was taken ill during a production.

The young cast, aged between 17 and 21, had been performing a production of The Laramie Project at the sudio in St George's Street, when the man in the audience was taken ill.

Theatre-goers believed the man had suffered a heart attack after collapsing by his seat. Thankfully, it is understood the man was instead experiencing dizziness.

Determined for the show to go on, the actors set up seats in the nearby rehearsal studio and continued to perform in what director Rob Salmon said was a "fantastic" show of professionalism.

After the man had been taken to hospital for check-ups, the New Wolsey Young Company returned to the main stage to complete their final performance at the studio as planned.

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Mr Salmon said: "They are a very mature, talented and professional group of young people.

"This was the young company's last performance after 12 years at the St George's Street studio, the final performance of The Laramie Project - and also the anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard, which is told in the play.

"The man later asked if he could stay and watch the end of the play as he was enjoying it so much. It certainly made for a very emotionally charged evening."

Guests were later handed free drinks during a break in performance, giving the cast a well-deserved opportunity to refresh.

Theatre-goer David Woods, who witnessed the incident, said: "The performance was absolutely superb. The youngsters play multiple characters and adopt different American accents, but not once did it jar and despite the difficulties of the night they did not stutter once.

"I have been going to the theatre now for four decades and I can honestly say this performance is in my top 10 favourites of all that time."

The show follows the death of 21-year-old gay man Matthew Shepard from Laramie, Wyoming in 1988. His death brought the horror of homophobic hate crime to headlines across the world.

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