Dear Readers, It is with deepest regret and sadness that I have to write this post today, but somebody has to do it. It is about how you should NOT behave in a theatre.

Whilst I am sure that some of you – most of you – behave eloquently upon a trip to the playhouse, there is always going to be one or two that need to hear this message, and if that person is you (for whatever reason), I plead that you read on*.

*Also read on if this is not you because that would be super nice!!

I recently went to see the mind-blowingly marvellous musical that is Mary Poppins. Let me tell you, what a show! It was incredible!!! The acting, the music, the special tricks that make Mary Poppins the practically perfect piece of theatre that it is… It completely blew my mind.

Whilst sitting there watching this extraordinary show, however, there was a little something, or someone, I should say, niggling in the back of my mind. You see, the man behind me was an absolutely insolent person.

Now, I understand that the circumstances could have been unfortunate for this man – others have reminded me that this could have been this man’s last trip to the theatre before he passed away, or a very special day that he had been saving for all year. But the thing that doesn’t add up is, whether these were true of him or not, why didn’t he think about the people around him and how special this performance may have been to them?

Now, I absolutely hate to be negative – it’s really not the way I roll – so instead of using this post as a space to moan relentlessly about this deep-voiced broadly Scottish man I do not know, I would like to take it as a chance to tell those who aren’t regular theatre-goers the basic dos and don’ts of the theatre world.

First thing’s first, please, please do not speak during the performance. I do understand that it can be exciting and you might want to express your opinion right there and then, but you have to refrain and wait until the interview or the end of the show. The good thing is, if that moment had an impact on you, chances are it will be memorable for whoever you are so excited to talk about it with, so you’ll be able to discuss it when you can do so without disturbing anyone else around you. Talking during the show (and this includes booing – unless it is clear that it is a panto, it is probably not, with means no booing and hissing, unfortunately) is probably one of the rudest things you can do in a performance. This is because not only does it distract your fellow audience member, but it is also incredibly rude to the cast, and crew, who work so hard every night to bring you the show that you, and everybody else, have paid good money to see.

The other extremely common “offense”, sadly, is people going on their phones. Let me tell you right now that you are not allowed to pull your phone out when a performance is going on, in the theatre or at the pictures. It is actually illegal to take pictures of or record any part of a show (except for when you first arrive and you want to take a picture of the stage before the show starts), which is what most people seem to do if they do go on their phones. You are told at the beginning to turn your phone off so that there aren’t any distractions… LISTEN TO THIS!!!!! It is also, once again, distracting to the cast who have to stay in character no matter what.

Those are the main two. There are others – don’t bring food that smells, eat it really loudly, sing along to songs etc., but I think that’s enough for today. I really, really hope this has helps some people to understand better why some people might get annoyed when you’re singing along to Defying Gravity. Thank you so much for reading this all the way through – it’s not exactly my usual style! Next month, we’re back to… probably another review because that seems to be all I can do around here.

Ivy Stephens, Langley Park School for Girls