Ceiling Collapse Probed

Officials with the Capitol Theatre in Chambersburg, Pa., are investigating what caused a portion of the ceiling to fall and injure several people during an April 30th performance.

An approximately 4-foot by 10-foot chunk of plaster came crashing down toward the end of a variety show attended by 300 people. Two women were seriously injured — one was hospitalized — and several others sustained minor injuries, according to reports.

Paul Cullinane, executive director for Downtown Chambersburg Inc., which owns the 852-seat venue, said officials are doing all they can to figure out what happened.

“There is an ongoing investigation and we don’t know when that will be completed. It’s a 1927 building, so it’s got some age to it,” Cullinane told Pollstar. “There were injuries but we don’t know how many. We only know of a small number.

“We certainly, first and foremost, are concerned for the individual that’s in the hospital and a speedy recovery. Whenever anyone’s injured, that’s always a very sad and discouraging situation.”

Cullinane said the theatre has undergone renovations over the years, but the ceiling was not included.

“We built a new cultural arts center … attached to the building. Over the years, we’ve upgraded the seating, done some stage work and lighting work, some sound and electrical upgrades,” he said. “You know, the kinds of things that you do to try and improve the quality of the building and make it safer.”

Meanwhile, officials are working with other local venues to relocate shows as fast as possible. At press time, two had been moved to Thomson Hall at Wilson College.

“We’re working with high schools and the college, and everyone is being supportive. What they’re doing now is checking their own schedules,” Cullinane said. “This is usually a very busy month for the schools as they wind down and get ready for graduation.

“We’ve got a good staff and they’re down there working very hard at trying to figure all of this out.”

Tina Amendola