Published: 11th August 2015
When Benedict Cumberbatch trod the boards as Hamlet at the Barbican, he surprised the public when he requested that theatre goers refrain from filming his soliloquies. Surely that’s common knowledge? Being an actor up on stage is a pretty brave job and red lights glittering through the auditorium is very distracting when you have to recite reams and reams of Shakespeare, or any lines for that matter.
So perhaps we need a refresher course of how to behave at the theatre. Here are KidRated’s theatre etiquette dos and don’ts.
Popcorn is fine at the cinema but a big no-no at the theatre. If your little ones insist on eating something that rustles, tell them they can only eat it in the interval, during applause, musical numbers, or on the bus home. Imelda Staunton recently called for a ban of all food in the theatre. A tad dramatic perhaps, but then again she is an actor and if you’re up on stage and all you can hear from the audience is chomping jaws, you might start to find it a little annoying.
It’s impossible to crunch ice cream making it perfect theatre food. Unfortunately the theatres caught onto this and buying a tub each for you and your brood will cost a similar amount to the GDP of a small country in cash. Save money and teach your kids the importance of sharing. Everyone’s a winner.
Apparently someone was recently caught eating fish and chips in theatre. This is 100% unacceptable. Loads of restaurants near theatres do great pre or post show deals. Or check out these dinner packages.
London has some of the best theatre in the world. If you really think social media is more important than watching War Horse, then you shouldn’t have shelled out all that money to come. Make sure your kids turn theirs off too. Judgemental theatre goers will blame you, not your angel faced 12 year old if a phone goes off.
In the Shakespeare’s day, the theatre was a great social occasion and people talked throughout but they also only showered about once a year and didn’t have flushing toilets. Times have changed, you’re not watching Netflix in your living room.
There’s more to London theatre than just musicals on Shaftesbu. Mark Shenton, theatre critic for The Stage has some great theatre recommendations.
This again was acceptable in the olden days, but now, surprisingly, not so much.
Nothing is more mortifying than a phone going off in a really serious scene. The actors will hate you, the audience will hate you, if it’s your kid’s phone, you will hate your kid, but most importantly you will hate yourself.
They’re just a bit silly, a total waste of 50p and you’ll look like a tourist. Unless you find yourself in the very back row of the Palace Theatre watching Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in which case maybe even bring your dad’s giant bird watching ones.
You might think it’s ridiculous that someone doesn’t know the ending of the Lion King, Mamma Mia, or any other big West End show, but you never know some people might have been living under a rock their whole lives.
Yes, they’re wearing tight tights, but remind your kids that their dancing is full of skill, elegance and expertise. See if your kids can do some of their moves like lifting another dancer above your head. Actually don’t, don’t ever try that at home.
Haven’t heard about relaxed performances? Read Simon’s blog about attending a relaxed performance of War Horse with his goddaughter here. And see Issy’s review of Matilda here. Our special needs page has loads of info about accommodating theatres.
If up until now your kids have only ever been to pantomimes, it would be a good idea to let them know that actors don’t like being booed or told that the baddie is behind them.
Or give them a standing ovation. Or even go to the stage door after the show and tell the actors how much you loved it. If you must film or take photos now’s your chance.
Whether you loved it or loathed it, we like to know your thoughts on plays for kids in London. See what kids have uploaded recently here.
Get your tickets through our ticket page where you will find discounts for some of the best shows in London.
Update: Imelda Staunton recently made the headlines for saying that