The Ten Commandments of Theatre

You all saw my “Ten Commendments of Stage Door” Post, and after being at a few shows lately where the audience behaviour has been less than favourable, I thought I would give you all a Ten Commandments of Theatre.

1) Thou Shalt Not Sing
I don’t know about you guys, but when I pay to see a musical, I want to hear the actors sing. At Dreamboats and Petticoats recently I was treated to a lady next to me singing in the same monotone the whole way through – yikes!

2) If Thoust Must Bring Sweets, Thou Shalt Not Rustle
In an ideal world there would be no sweets in theatre. But most people do like to have a little munch through a show, so cardboard wrapping is ideal. Steer clear of eclairs in rustly packets and stick to fruit pastilles in a cardboard carton – that is if you MUST bring sweets.

3) Thou Shalt Not Slurp
We know you need to keep hydrated, but slurping your drink is not going to do you any favours with those sitting around. There is nothing worse than “On my owwwnnn *SCHLLUUURRRPP* pretending he’s beside me *SCHLUUURP*” You guys get the picture.

4) Thou Art Not A Commentator
It’s not a horse race. You don’t need to give a running commentary all the way through. I have had the misfortune of sitting in the same area as someone who has felt the need to commentate the entire show, and sometimes give away what’s coming next. It’s annoying!

5) Thou Shalt Not Be A Clapper
There is always someone who tries to start a clap. At Dreamboats and Petticoats the other night there was a group that tried to start a clap-along to pretty much every other song all the way through. Annoying! If the cast clap along, feel free to follow suit…

6) Thou Shalt Not Telephone
What many people don’t seem to realise in the theatre is that the actors are real, living, breathing people. So, funnily enough, they can see when you turn on your phone and begin texting. You’re in a theatre – it’s dark. The light on your phone is huge in a dark auditiorium.

7) Thou Shalt Sit Still
During the show is not the time to go for a stroll. Neither is it the time to fidget constantly. I had the misfortune a few weeks ago of sitting behind a man who was not only very tall, but probably the worst fidgeter I had ever come across – nightmare!

8) The Show Is Not Part of Your Holiday Snaps
Taking pictures is one of my serious show pet peeves. Not only is it distracting to the audience, but it’s a nightmare for the cast as well. Not to mention the absolute hell it gives Front of House staff who end up having to clamber over people to get to the offender. Plus… think about copyright!

9) Thou Shalt Appreciate Thy Cast
Clap at the end of songs. One of my biggest pet hates is people who do not show any appreciation at all. Even if you hate the show and quite fancy scratching out your own eyes or falling to sleep just clap and leave at the interval if you absolutely must. At the end of the day, those on stage are working their backsides off, so give them a little something back.

10) Thou Shalt Not Smell
One thing I hate is when people come into the theatre stinking of cigarettes. And I mean like. literally jsut put the thing out before they walked through the door. It’s vile!

So, those are West End Wendy’s top ten theatre etiquette commandments. Follow these, and all of our theatre going experiences will be that little bit more pleasant.

As always – fee free to comment!


2 thoughts on “The Ten Commandments of Theatre

  1. I can only imagine what it's like at a West End Musical. I feel sorry for the good honest theatre folk who have to go and put up with this sort of thing. Sweets? You go to a fringe play and no-one feels the need to munch their way through a sack of Opal Fruits do they? No. But suddenly in the West End people can't go 2 hours without stuffing their faces. Strange (well, not strange at all really.There was an idiot behind me at The 39 Steps who told the ENTIRE plot to his companion just before it started. I managed to block it out but if it happened now I would probably have told him to shut his racket. His friend just said at the end 'well, I don't need to watch it now.'I told a chap to put his iphone away in the Soho Theater this week and got a stream of (low volume) abuse!

  2. This is brilliant! A noisy audience can totally ruin a great theatre experience. Saw ‘Matilda’ last week – loved the show, but couldn’t hear the actors clearly for all the crisps, sweets, drinks, and story narrating parents!! Same happened at ‘Shrek’.
    I just wish theatres would stop selling sweets and crisps.

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