Appreciative or inconsiderate? What Gazette readers said about theatre etiquette in our Facebook poll
Gazette readers have had their say after a group of concert goers say they left Sunderland’s Empire Theatre after being told not to sing along with songs at a musical by staff members.
Readers have very different opinions on the matter with some arguing part of the experience is being able to join in and sing along while others say it ruins the experience for other theatre-goers.
The debate was sparked after Lesley Powell, 53, told our sister paper Sunderland Echo about her recent trip to see Motown: the Musical with her daughter Natalie Johnstone, 31, sister Lee Wyatt, 52 and cousin Christine Mackley, 51, having spend around £100 on their tickets.
The group had assumed that audience participation was welcome. But a few bars into Reach Out I’ll Be There they were told to be quiet by theatre staff.
They then felt obliged to leave the show after 30 minutes as their evening had been spoiled.
At time of writing, 443 people had taken part in our Facebook poll asking whether or not people should be encouraged to sing along in theatres.
Fifty-five per cent said “yes, it’s all good fun” while 45% said “no, leave it to the stars”.
But were staff right to tell them to be quiet? Here's what readers thought:
Shaun Crosby: “How can anyone even justify this? Would you kick off if someone in the cinema had seen the film before and was shouting loudly along with the film? Same thing isn't it, theatre etiquette is lost these days.”
Deb Carlisle: “My mam was escorted out by the security for her being too loud singing. Disgraceful.”
Michael Coates: “Thank god they were thrown out I wish this happened at other shows I have paid for and ended up angry throughout it due to inconsiderate people who believe we want to hear them.”
Maria Ratuski: “Love to know how you can sit and be quiet listening to Motown music is to be enjoyed and singing is a sign of appreciation and loving the music.”
David Gray: “People go to see musicals at the theatre to hear the professionals perform, not inconsiderate audience members.”
Alison Williams: “They were only singing and were quiet when the story was being told. They also paid for tickets and I would have also sang if I’d been there.”
Shaun Keelan: “Clearly a fair few people don’t go to the theatre often and don’t understand manners and etiquette.”