Idris Elba halts Tree play mid-performance to help fainting woman

The Luther star went to the aid of an audience member who collapsed during his new show

Ellie Harrison
Thursday 04 July 2019 17:32
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Idris Elba halted his new play Tree mid-performance to go to the aid of a woman who collapsed as she stood in the audience.

The Luther actor briefly halted the show on Wednesday while he made sure the audience member was seen by paramedics.

Bosses of Manchester International Festival (MIF), which is hosting a two-week run of Tree at Upper Campfield Market Hall, said the woman is now “well and fine”.

Most of the audience stands up for the entirety of the 90-minute play, which is a mixture of drama and dance.

Elba was described by MIF’s artistic director John McGrath as “helpful”. He said: “She was right next to Idris in the audience so he was there trying to help out and make sure that paramedic support workers got to her.

“I believe that the lady is now well and fine but it was certainly helpful that Idris was there to help out with that.”

Tree has been the subject of some controversy after two writers who worked on the play claimed in a lengthy blog post that they were “pushed off” the project and suffered “intimidation and disrespect”.

Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley said they worked on Tree for four years but got no credit for the play, which is attributed to Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah.

On Thursday, Elba posted a statement on Twitter claiming Allen-Martin and Henley had decided to quit the play when “new ambitions” were proposed and noting that they had been acknowledged in the foreword of Tree’s programme.

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