What is Theatre 'Etiquette'?

If you've been living under the rock you may have missed that I made local news recently under the headline 'Pongy prawns distract War Horse theatre goers' after my recent visit to the Theatre Royal in Nottingham. 

The short story is that I headed to the theatre last week for the opening performance of War Horse (it was epic by the way, you should read my review) and as the lights went down for the beginning of the show a family in front of me decided that it was time for the grand opening of the buffet, tucking into small snack pots of calamari and prawns. Now I love a good prawn and dip snack but there is a time and place to dine on those luxuries and it's not in the theatre. Come on now Susan (I'm calling the person Susan for this). And good god not when I'm about to watch an emotional play about horses in the war, not cool Susan. So after a couple of minutes of trying to breathe into my scarf and be emotionally moved by the play, Jordan decided to notify one of the staff members. Susan was instructed to pop her buffet away, now when I think about it she looked surprised she was being asked to put it away? Susan I'M WATCHING WAR HORSE. STOP. But yes she put her buffet back into the bag and it didn't resurface, so I was able to enjoy the rest of my theatre experience in peace but it's another peg on the board in the discussion around Theatre Etiquette. 

I truly believe though theatre etiquette is an entirely individual opinion. The discussion opens a can of worms so I apologise to those who may not agree with my ideas around it.

Photo Credit: Thomas Charters. 
I've been going to the theatre since I can remember so my opinions and ideas of etiquette have been fed through from those I've gone to the theatre with. I am under the impression that adhering to these rules is in respect of the other theatregoers. Probably more so if they've paid a fortune for their tickets to see a show that they've probably waited to see for a while. 

When I talk about theatre etiquette I'm discussing whether there should be a particular way we all behave at the theatre, in my opinion, there are some aspects that yes I think there is. For me, there is nothing worse than watching a show and being distracted by the light coming from a phone screen, the rustle of sweets or the noise of a carbonated drink. However, I do not mind it when people enjoy the show THAT much they're singing along merrily or having a hushed conversation with the person next to them because I'm that person. Don't expect me to watch a musical and not hold back from singing quietly along to a classic like Defying Gravity. Anyway you never know who is behind you, they could be talent spotting. Always working, always preparing for my big moment on the west end. 

I went to a pantomime during the festive period and wasn't sure when I heard they allowed the use of mobiles throughout the performance. I'm all for capturing photos of some moments they can treasure but there comes a point when it becomes slightly ridiculous. I was paying more attention to the gentleman in front of me, drawing up ideas in my head of how he could take a better photo (who am I?) but it was so distracting that it was definitely a pantomime I wouldn't go to again. There's nothing worse than people attempting to take photos/videos of what they're seeing on stage, I think they should embrace what they are watching and present the actors with your full attention.

Another 'etiquette' thing I wanted to bring into the discussion was brought to my attention by Carrie Hope Fletcher. Youtuber/Actress/Author, Carrie has spoken openly about her experiences at the Stage Door, she wrote a fantastic post highlighting those in her blog post, An Introverted Actress. What absolutely blows my mind is when people have an expectation that because they brought a ticket they feel as though they should meet their idol after the show. I don't think you should pop around to the Stage Door and expect the star of the show will want to come out and be flooded by fans. Remember that this is their fulltime job, it's demanding and they probably want to go home and make a cuppa.

I ran a poll a few weeks back asking what my followers thought about Theatre Etiquette with over 50% agreeing that it was something that bothered them. The etiquette for me also extends to the cinema too. I believe these 'rules' apply for there too. I'm going to end this with asking you to leave your comments below with your opinions on this subject.

Is Theatre Etiquette something that grabs your attention and bothers you or is it something you dob't pay any attention to? 

6 comments

  1. I think it’s the same as the cinema. I get super distracted by noise and I think you should be respectful not only to audience around you but the actors/ actressses as well

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    1. Yeah definitely, I think it's just having a respect for the people working on stage! I treat my time in the cinema like I'm at the theatre, it's just annoying others can't. I watched Black Panther in the cinema on Sat and had a lady watching the football live two people down from me through the film until it finished, nightmare! xx

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  2. Ooh I like this! And I like a good prawn but the theatre is definitely the wrong place.
    I think in the theatre you should just hold off on anything that might be distracting.
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk

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    1. It really is, it's the smell more than anything! x

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  3. I don’t think you should talk throughout either personally, same as at the cinema. I saw one show and as well as talking throughout she started eating an APPLE then went on to see ‘oh I never eat apples’. Argh.

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    1. Oh no - that's annoying! I think people just don't understand what is really distracting for others! x

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