One of theatre fans’ favourite pastimes is the stage door. I know I love to meet the actors after enjoying a show and maybe getting a scribble or two in my programme. Stage door is usually a pretty civilised place, but what happens when it goes wrong?
Here’s West End Wendy’s Ten Stage Door Commandments.
1. Thou shalt See The Show
A couple of people on Twitter commented that they dislike when people stage door without seeing the show. Sounds fair. If you want the performer’s time, you give them your time and see their show 🙂
2. Thou Shalt Not Fangirl
Performers are people too! Always prepare what you want to say if you’re not sure – generally a compliment about the show will do the job. Twitter folk said they disliked when people asked performers overly personal questions at stage door or asked for many many photographs and autographs.
3. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour’s Time with Performers.
Wait your turn. Don’t butt in to other people’s conversations.
4. Love the Neighbour
Do not elbow them in the ribs. Do not smack them in the back of the head with your programme. If there are barriers and children at the front, dont push them. I once saw Idina Menzel pull a little girl over a barrier because she was getting pushed quite badly by those behind her. Needless to say the people behind didn’t get their signatures! Stage door buddies can be a great thing so be nice to people at stage door – it makes the whole experience better.
5. Thou Shalt Not Steal
As recommended by one of my Twitter followers – don’t steal someone else’s signed programme and run away!
6. Thou Shalt At Least Try To Be Knowledgable
Never ask the question “so who were you in the show?” – it’s mean. If in doubt just get a scribble and figure it out later. Also, try not to call the actor by the name of their character – nothing is more annoying.
7. Thou Shalt Join The Queue
If there is a queue, join it. If there’s a crowd, join the back.
8. Thou Shalt Not Repeatedly Offend.
Now I’m a frequent stage door visitor and a big fan of being able to go and meet the cast, congratulate them and get an autograph. What I see a lot, though, is people getting their autograph/picture, only to rejoin the queue and get something else signed or another picture, I have seen people do this four or five times. When you throw in one of my favourite performers, Sheridan Smith, it means she’s standing around for hours after a show. Remember guys, the cast want to go home. By all means do the stage door thing, but don’t be a repeat offender.
9. Thou Shalt Bring A Pen.
There’s nothing worse than being the only one at stage door and realising neither you or the cast member have a pen. Nightmare!
10. Thou Shalt Not Be Mean
If you’re at the stage door, I’m guessing you liked something about the show. If there were things or people you didn’t like, don’t voice that at the stage door. It’s ok to not like something, but let’s make the stage door a positive place for cast and performers alike!
So, there’s my top ten commandments for stage door. Drop me a comment if you have any further suggestions.