In this instance, drywall was laid over an older plaster over wire mesh ceiling. This is often done to hide problems, but can only make them worse if the drywall is not secured through the previous ceiling to the joists.

Philip LaMachio Home

Black Rep to reopen after ceiling collapse

01:00 AM EST on Friday, January 4, 2008

The Providence Black Repertory Company hopes to open its doors tomorrow, after a collapsed ceiling forced it to close for more than a week. No one was injured.

The collapse happened around 7 p.m. on Dec. 27 when two staff members were working in the otherwise empty building on Westminster Street before the start of the Thursday night Afrosonic dance show. They heard a thunderous crash, and found that a large chunk of ceiling in the company’s Xxodus CafÉ had let go over the stage area, tearing loose heating ducts and damaging the stage, as well as instruments and technical equipment.

Black Rep artistic director Donald King estimated repairs will cost $50,000. The theater stands to lose another $20,000 in revenue from canceled shows, he said. “But no one got hurt,” said King, “and we are grateful and fortunate for that.”

The section of collapsed ceiling was some 100 years old, said King, and made from a heavy concrete mesh over which sheet rock was placed. To be cautious, King said he is replacing all the older mesh ceiling.
“I’m not going to take chances,” he said. “Safety is important to us.”

Part of the ceiling was replaced about 15 years ago, said King, with a safer lightweight grid. That’s the area of the ceiling that was inspected when Black Rep bought the Westminster Street building several years ago, so the theater didn’t know it had a potential problem, King said.
Providence Black Rep, a nonprofit organization, is seeking donations to help defray the cost of repairs, not all of which are covered by insurance. Checks can be sent to the theater at 276 Westminster St., Providence, RI 02903.

Black Rep to reopen after ceiling collapse | Theater | | The Providence Journal

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