People across south east London have expressed how saddened they are with the sudden closure of The Orchard Theatre in Dartford, with one labelling it as “madness”.

Dartford Council confirmed yesterday (September 5) that all performances at The Orchard Theatre have been cancelled “with immediate effect”, after concerns with the RAAC panels.

With many shows cancelled this month, such as tonight’s showing of Country Superstars, theatregoers have said to be “gutted” that the popular theatre is closing with immediate effect.

Dartford Borough Council has been commissioning regular surveys on The Orchard Theatre and the last report from specialist consultants in April this year continued to report that defects in the panels in the theatre’s roof were “not significant”.

The Council said they “nevertheless began planning” to replace panels in the “medium to long term”, in line with the consultant’s advice.

However, a routine inspection on Monday (September 4), carried out in line with the most recent industry guidance resulted in the consultant making a recommendation to close until such time as further surveys could be carried out and a solution identified.

Due to this all performances have been suspended at The Orchard Theatre with immediate effect.

This includes tonight’s showing of Country Superstars, Thursday’s showing of Whitney – Queen of the Night, and Friday's showing of Jimmy Carr: Terribly funny 2.0.

We have rounded up what people have said about The Orchard Theatre closing:

Chris Jopp said: “Supposed to see Jimmy Carr on Friday.”

Cheryl Dickinson said: “I'm going to see country superstars tomorrow.”

Jill Palmer said: “Such sad news about the orchard we will so miss the five shows we have booked for September let's hope and pray with all fingers crossed that it can be sorted quickly.

“Missing you all already.”

Franki Frankster Gibbons said: “So gutted with this, my son had an awards ceremony middle of the month.”

Craig Rumley said: “Its about time they renovated the place.

“It hasn't changed, and I have lived in Dartford all my life.”

Carol Kent said: “I can't believe it. How ridiculous. That's as bad as here (NZ) our local hospital that has been up for over 20 years and has not fallen down is now an earthquake risk.”

Mark Cook said: “I hope the Orchard Theatre will be open when me and my girlfriend go to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Saturday 14th October (next month).”

Carol Billinghurst said: “This is madness... just put in a plan to sort it.. don't close business down.

Lacy Seldon said: “For those that don’t know, concrete regulations have recently changed and until minor works or a survey is done on a property the review of whether it meets the regulations isn’t accounted for.

“It’s more than likely not any more unsafe than it has been since the day it was built, it’s just now legally more of a risk now due to regulations and better knowledge which has pushed those along.”

Susan Young said: “I hope they can get it sorted soon. A much-loved venue by my family and many more.”

Fay Percy said: “The whole thing is an utter shambles. Nothing but neglect and cuts from the thieves in charge of the country.”

Zoe Myboys Anderson said: “Was meant to be going Thursday for Whitney for a bday treat.”

Sunnysokhal Singh said: “Health and safety comes first aid people like to moan about this and wanna go in the building with this problem.

“It’s your problem not very good but selfie safety concerns of any building like this.”

Keith Moss said: “Absolutely gutted, we go there on a regular basis.

“Fingers crossed this can be sorted out.”

Francesca Frogley said: “Gutted, but safety must come first.

“Should have been seeing 42nd Street on Tuesday.”

Helena Calixte said: “Even more important to support local theatre when it re-opens.”

Janet Rogers said: “I feel sad for all the hard working staff and those due to perform after months of rehearsals.”