English National Opera (ENO) are being sued in a £200,000 court fight after a lighting designer was crushed by a nearly 19st piece of stage kit at their HQ.
Zanna Woodgate, 33, was preparing for the start of the opera season – which kicked off with a production of Don Giovanni – when a 265lb piece of lighting equipment tipped over on top of her whilst she was moving it with a colleague.
She suffered a double leg break which has left her still in pain four years later, Central London County Court heard.
Now she is suing, in a case which could cost the ENO more than £200,000.
Judge Simon Monty heard that Ms Woodgate, then 30, was a lighting designer and technician working at the ENO’s Coliseum Theatre on September 1 2019 and was moving a heavy piece of equipment when the accident occurred.
English National Opera are being sued in a £200,000 court fight after lighting designer Zanna Woodgate (pictured), 33,was crushed by a 120-kilo piece of stage kit at their HQ
Zanna Woodgate, 33, had a 250lb piece of lighting equipment tipped over on top of her whilst she was moving it with a colleague, causing her to suffer a double leg break which has left her still in pain four years later
‘She was a technician working for the defendant and was moving a piece of equipment with a colleague,’ her barrister Elizabeth Boulden said.
‘She was pulling the equipment up a ramp and her colleague was pushing when it tipped forward on her.
‘She suffered a fractured fibula and tibia in her leg. She still has pain in her leg and may benefit from orthotics.’
She also suffered psychological damage, still suffers pain and has not worked in the theatre since.
However, she has since embarked on a new career as a landscape architect.
The barrister said she is currently claiming £80,000 in compensation, but that the costs of the case are likely to add at least another £120,000 to the bill for the ENO, who have admitted liability for the accident.
Ms Woodgate’s roommate and two ‘theatre people’ are set to give evidence as witnesses at the two day trial to decide the level of compensation she will get, the judge heard.
English National Opera, resident at the London Coliseum in St Martin’s Lane, is one of the two principal opera companies in London, along with The Royal Opera
Ms Woodgate has since embarked on a new career as a landscape architect
He was also told that ENO estimate they will have spent £58,000 on lawyers by the end of the case, with Ms Woodgate’s lawyers seeking approval to spend over £165,000 in total, having already spent £45,851.
‘That is disproportionate, bordering on being grossly disproportionate,’ the judge commented, adding ‘you wont receive that’.
The case will return for the trial on quantum at a later date unless an out of court settlement is reached beforehand.
English National Opera, resident at the London Coliseum in St Martin’s Lane, is one of the two principal opera companies in London, along with The Royal Opera.
The English-language opera was founded in the late 19th century by philanthropist Emma Cons and her niece Lilian Baylis.
In 1968, the company moved to the London Coliseum and adopted its present name in 1974.