I couldn’t have said it better – audience etiquette

By Megan Mooney

This article by Kris Joseph makes my heart sing.  It says all the things I have been trying to say for ages, but in such a great clear way, with excellent examples.

Thank you to Kris Joseph (@krisjoseph)for this, and thank you to Simon Ogden (@thenextstagemag) for pointing me to the article.

So, to reiterate…


Here are some excerpts:

In the last several months there have been several high-profile examples of actors getting annoyed at audience behaviour: … there are tales all over the internets that bemoan the lack of etiquette of theatre patrons.

Hey. Actors. Suck it up.

My brain cannot reconcile the fact that the theatre community moans and wails about the decline in audience numbers while simultaneously waxing sanctimonius about the lack of audience members who exhibit ‘proper’ behaviour.

those who do not normally attend the theatre. These are the only people, by definiton, that can grow the theatrical audience.  And these patrons, in large part, are unaware of theatrical etiquette.  How dare we expect them to know all the rules?

re you annoyed that the audience isn’t paying attention to you? Work harder. Your job is to make them pay attention. It is hard for me, sometimes, to keep from getting annoyed at audience distractions, but I am training myself to think that such occurences represent the behaviour of someone I want to see again in the audience.  For the umpteenth time on this blog, I reiterate: our job is to serve the audience… NOT the other way around.

0 thoughts on “I couldn’t have said it better – audience etiquette”

  1. Agree completely.

    Turning the lights out and being quiet is an invention (not surprisingly) of the victorians, those inventors of everything repressed in our society. Up until then, they didn’t have enough control of the lighting to be able to get people to shut up during a show.

    To see a vital, living, integrated arts community look at live music, stand up comedy, all of them involve the audience. You can see the same thing in Italy, where theatre is again a huge part of their lives; I saw a comedy where the audience walked in and out of the theatre when and as they wanted, chatted and talked back to the actors, and had a grand old time. Sometimes if you go to an Opera in Italy, people will cheer and applaud for bits in the middle of an act to the point where the singer may stop the show, take a bow and even repeat what they just sang.

    In any case, I’m not about to stand up in the middle of a show in Toronto to try this, because I probably would get thrown out. I’ve seen shows where there is an audience interaction component and it’s like pulling teeth to get people to respond at all it’s so well ingrained. Although not, interestingly, with children – they’re pretty good at responding because they haven’t had their interest in theatre beaten out of them yet…

    Anyway, rant over. Agree completely. bravo.

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