West End Producer's 10 rules of audience etiquette

Features | 12 Dec 2017

West End Producer's 10 rules of audience etiquette

Going to the theatre is not just about watching the show and having a good time. It's also about being on your best behaviour and not standing out for the wrong reasons. The following list - an extract from West End Producer's new book Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Going to the Theatre (But Were too Sloshed to Ask, Dear) - will help even the most inexperienced theatregoer look like a seasoned pro.

1. Never use your mobile phone after the show has started. Put it on silent or turn it off; a vibrating phone is still an audible one (same applies to vibrators). Even if you think you're being discreet as you send a text or check Tinder, the glow of your phone will surround you with a guilty halo - which doesn't make you look angelic, it makes you look like an ignorant prat.

2. Keep noise to a minimum. This includes coughing, rustling, opening crisp packets, belching, farting and breathing.

3. Only laugh when others laugh. Even if you don't understand what they're laughing about. No one likes a random giggler. (Take note, Biggins.)

4. Try not to be overly tall. If you are, you should shuffle around the theatre on your knees, and only sit on the back row.

5. Avoid owning Brian May hair - unless you are prepared to comb the middle of it down so the person behind you can see.

6. Don't be too smelly. And if you are, conceal it with roses around your neck, lavender in your ears, and potpourri in your pants.

7. Avoid speaking or whispering when actors are emoting -- though if they're doing a long, boring speech it is encouraged. And never join in with any singing, unless it's the megamix at the end.

8. Only go to the toilets before the show and in the interval. It is far more respectful to the actors and fellow audience members if you just wet yourself.

9. Never be late. Unless you've been reliably informed that the first half-hour is rubbish. In which case, go and get sloshed. It will make everything more tolerable.

10. Don't indulge in acts of a sexual nature. Even in the interval. Because, as we all know, the interval is not the intercourse.

Image credit: West End Producer © Matt Crockett

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Going to the Theatre (But Were too Sloshed to Ask, Dear) is published by Nick Hern Books. Buy it now in the Curtain Call Shop.

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