Perusing Twitter in recent weeks there have been a number of tweets where audience members have been called out for recording or photographing during shows. It was reported that in one performance of Six, one of the cast members actually intervened to call this out. In other instances audience members themselves asked the perpetrator to cease recording.
Anyone attending the theatre know that they should not be recording shows or indeed taking photographs. Arguably the reasons behind these regulations have never been explicitly reasoned out and explained, nonetheless this is standard knowledge, and theatre goers do not come armed with cameras and recording devices.
The rules seem fair and obvious. Recordings of a show then uploaded to YouTube or indeed anywhere can do many negative things. The poor quality sound might make a performance look bad, the ending of a show might be given away ( many have quite intricate stories as part of the show, Waitress is an example). The actors/actresses are entitled to also make their money from cast recordings of albums uploaded to Spotify or similar and sold, and the sheer poor quality of the recordings does nothing to enhance the experience for anyone.
What however is less well known, and could be better advertised are that some shows do allow the audience to take photographs and videos during the curtain calls, as in Waitress or during a semi-encore, as in Six. I like this approach. As a photographer I too get frustrated to not be able to photograph, however I get it and abide by the rules as should everyone.
Having sat through the Brexit voting charades this past week, I would like to suggest a few things we might suggest or even vote on as solutions:
- In the foyer there should be clear notices as to what is and what is not allowed. This also can be part of the pre-show announcements whee one is reminded to turn off mobile devices.
- Anyone breaching the regulations should be removed from the theatre . A clear black and white punishment.
- Cast members where feasible can make themselves available post-show for photographs
- The show organisers organise out of show events where folks can come and photograph cast members with the obvious caveats these are not used commercially or promotionally. Funds raised might be utilised by theatre charities.
As I stated above the non-allowing of photography, I agree with and always wonder what my images might have looked like. The four solutions above may be a good compromise in this digital image world.
Lastly, the photos uploaded here were all taken post-show and were allowed, and of course all taken with the humble I-phone 8