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Man arrested over violence breaking out during Swan Lake show at Manchester theatre

Manchester Opera House is pictured next to to a skyscraper under construction  (Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)
Manchester Opera House is pictured next to to a skyscraper under construction (Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

A man has been arrested after violence allegedly broke out during a performance of Swan Lake in Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police said they were called to the city’s opera house to reports of a disturbance at around 8.35pm on Sunday 21 January.

A witness told the BBC that someone was punched in the face when violence broke out during the interval.

A 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault, police said.

He was taken to custody before being released for further investigation, according to the force.

“The interval had just started, we heard raised voices to the left of us and looked and it was two men arguing,” an audience member told BBC Radio Manchester. “One was quite loud, the other one wasn’t. It was literally seconds, he just got really angry and just starting punching him in the face.

“We were a bit scared but once the police are there you feel reassured that nothing else is going to happen, and everyone seemed quite calm and it just carried on as normal.”

Police are continuing to investigate the incident – which is the third such report of police being called to disturbances at theatres in the city in less than a year.

The disturbance is said to have occurred during the interval (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The disturbance is said to have occurred during the interval (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

In April, a “riot” was sparked in the audience at the Palace Theatre, after a performance of The Bodyguard was halted 10 minutes before the end, allegedly due to audience members standing up and attempting to sing over the lead actor.

Then in November, a fight broke out between two ticketholders at the same theatre during a performance of the musical Hamilton. No arrests were made, and no injuries were life-threatening, police said.

Greater Manchester Police said in a statement: “On Sunday 21 January 2024, at around 8:35pm, officers received reports of a disturbance at Manchester’s Opera House on Quay Street.

“Officers attended the scene, and a 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault, the man was taken to custody where he later released pending further investigation.

“Enquiries remain on going to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident.”