Theatre Etiquette

patti lupone

Recently, the BBC reported that Benedict Cumberbatch made a special plea to his audience not to record or photograph his performances of Macbeth at the Barbican in London. These shows sold out last year when they were announced and many new theatregoers are attracted to the show because of the star. While people are happy that new young people are attending theatre, it would be great to preserve the tradition of enjoying the performance in the moment and refraining from distracting the cast and other audience members.

I recently came across this piece on I was happy to see it as I was just remarking that theatre etiquette is declining every year. Many audience members these days feel free to create distractions during the performance whether it’s fidgeting, using their phones or loudly unwrapping snacks.

Broadway legend Patti Lupone famously stopped a performance of Gypsy on Broadway in 2009 to scream at an audience member who was photographing her as she sang one of the signature numbers. I think it’s scary and awesome. You can watch the clip here.

For theatre etiquette, Ms. Lupone offered up her 5 top tips on last month and I wholeheartedly agree!



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