A terrified theatre-goer who plunged 15ft into an orchestra pit when part of a Birmingham theatre's stage collapsed at a production of The Sound Of Music has won £ 3,000 compensation.
Michelle Cartwright, who was dressed as a nun ready to take part in an interactive version of the show at the Alexandra Theatre, suffered back and neck injuries.
She was one of about 30 people who were injured in the accident, and her solicitors believe her award may now lead to many of the others receiving compensation.
It happened after Mrs Cartwright was among a large number of audience members dressed as nuns who were invited on to the stage at show, produced by Sing-A-Long Productions Ltd.
Mother- of- three Mrs Cartwright, of The Hobbins, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, was awarded the compensation in an outofcourt settlement, after the producers admitted liability.
She said: "I sued because we had gone for a night out at the theatre. You expect to have an accident on the road, not at the theatre." Mrs Cartwright, aged 40, claimed that, more than two years since the incident, she still suffers from physical pain and psychological stress.
She said she had jumped at the chance to see her favourite musical in September 2003 and went with a friend because they thought it would be "a bit of fun".
She said: "I have liked The Sound Of Music since
childhood and we had heard that you got to sing along and join in."
Audience members were invited to attend dressed as characters from the film, which starred Julie Andrews, so Mrs Cartwright and her friend decided to go as nuns.
She said things were going well until a compere invited those dressed as nuns on to the stage for a bit of pre-show fun.
Mrs Cartwright, an electronics worker, said: "The compere led me on stage by the hand and I suppose another 20 people were led on after me, including my friend."
She said as the group walked across the orchestra pit cover, it collapsed.
"It was very, very dark and really quiet. I remember feeling a really sharp pain.
"My friend looked at me and her leg had ripped from the knee to the ankle, the bone was exposed.
"It was like a scene out of Casualty," Mrs Cartwright said. "The emergency services were there very quickly and quite a few people from the audience came to help."
Mrs Cartwright was stretchered out of the theatre pit and spent five hours at City Hospital before she was discharged.
Her friend was detained for a few days after undergoing a leg operation.
Her solicitor, James Leo, of Coley and Tilley solicitors, said: "We welcome Sing-A-Long Productions Ltd's admission of liability. Victims of this serious incident can now receive compensation for their injury and trauma."