The Missing Article on Theatre Etiquette


Curmudgeonly Imelda Staunton, currently appearing in a production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, caused a stir when she convinced the Harold Pinter theatre to slap a ban on patrons eating during the show. “Out of consideration for the actors and fellow audience members, we ask that no food be consumed during the performance,” they intoned. And Staunton followed it up with a terse statement, of the kind given when people haven’t eaten properly, in which she decried the propensity of the herd to munch through her performances, as if their lives depended on their bodies being supplied with sustenance at regular intervals. Naturally, a debate on theatre etiquette, elitism and snobbery followed, which was going nowhere until I tapped out this shit.

Let me declare my interest. I’m a product of all that 19th century intellectualism and its mission to exclude the masses from culture that…

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