Theatre Etiquette

Emily on Theatre Etiquette



Like most people, I love going to the theatre. I enjoy being taken away from the real world for a few hours and watching a beautiful piece of theatre unfold in front of my eyes. When the theatre experience is interrupted by someone being disrespectful to the actors and not turning their phone off, and said phone going off in the middle of a performance however, it tends to put a dampers on the experience a bit.


If the possibility of someone’s phone going off isn’t bad enough, then imagine someone filming a performance. Recently a man was caught recording a production of Athol Fugard in which the actors are naked for most of the performance. When asked whether he was recording the play he denied it and said he was texting his son.


I know some people like to record videos to keep as memories in order to remember the experience, but filming a theatre performance where the actors are naked for the majority of the play? Really? Have some respect!


After this issue was addressed, Anthony Biggs, the theatre director mentioned about putting a ban on mobile phones in theatres completely. I couldn’t help but agree with him.


I don’t know what the world has come to. We’re in a time where it’s physically impossible to go a minute without checking our phones and updating our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to let everyone know what we’re up to. Since when have we not been able to put our phones away for two hours and sit back and watch an amazing story and performance unfold in front of our eyes? It’s way better than watching on YouTube, that’s for sure.


I can’t talk as I’m one of those who is constantly sat with my phone glued to my hand. When I go to the theatre, however I make sure I switch my phone off and enjoy the performance. It gets very annoying, not only for the actors on stage, but for the audience too. Someone’s phone went off most recently when I went to watch the touring production of Birdsong at the Devonshire Park theatre in Eastbourne. Although it didn’t fase the actors on stage, a couple of the members of the audience looked around to see who the culprit was, resulting in missing part of the action on stage. It turned out to be a lady in the front row (I was second row) incase you were wondering.


Not all actors can ignore the issue though. Some took to Twitter to voice their opinions. The following was retweeted by Carrie Hope Fletcher who stars in Les Miserables. ‘Glowing faces from mobiles during a show is disprectful to the performers & audience.’


So the next time you’re lucky enough to go to the theatre, have a little bit of respect for the actors who are taking two and a half hours out of their day to tell a story and turn off your mobile phone.





2 thoughts on “Theatre Etiquette

  1. I couldn’t agree more with this. When I saw a performance of Evita for the first time, somebody answered their phone during the most poignant moment of the evening leaving me totally underwhelmed. It really spoilt what was otherwise a fantastic performance. Here’s to a future where people can leave their phone alone during a theatre performance!

    1. Oh my god! No way. That’s totally unacceptable. It should be a rule-people should switch their phones off for a few hours to enjoy what’s going on right in front of them. It’s the same for cinema. I went to a screening of Jupiters Ascending a few days ago and had to turn our phones off. Ok it was so we didn’t record it but the same rules apply. You’ve paid money to see that show,or watch that film,why would you be on your phone. Glad someone agrees 🙂

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