In an era where smart phones, social networking and 3G are becoming increasingly dominant in our daily routine, the desire to document our personal experiences has equally been on the rise. Sharing our experiences can be both educational and positive when carried out in a suitable manner, but it can also be highly inappropriate, unthoughtful and, in some cases, rude. Taking photographs, videos and recordings in the theatre does, of course, fall in the latter of these categories. Not only does it distract the cast on stage, it causes annoyance to surrounding audience members and it also promotes illegal copyright. Yet despite signage, the presence of front of house staff and the possession of common courtesy and common sense, there continues to be a small fraction of the theatre-going community that continue to bend these rules in order to gain their content; an action that, if anything, ruins the experience of the perpetrator and, indeed, the concept of what live theatre is all about.
With the average theatre ticket costing anywhere between £30 to £75 (or higher), it is mind-boggling to see people wasting their money by watching a show through their camera screen. The beauty of live theatre is being able to submerse yourself in somebody else’s story for a few hours, leaving behind the routine and stresses of life, but this is surely unachievable when you are not giving the production in question a chance to captivate you completely. Whilst a souvenir is great, there will be nothing that can ever beat the euphoria felt watching a cast in the flesh and listening to the accompanying live orchestra (and it certainly won’t be beaten by watching a muffled YouTube video several months later). Get the very most out of the theatre experience that you have paid for; buy a programme, immerse yourself in the show and take away memories, not photographs.