A Note From Greg: I’ve always loved acting and going to plays. As a kid I was lucky enough to be a part of Roosevelt Island’s Main Street Theatre where I acted in numerous dramas and musicals. Before each show, our director would come out and give the local audience some pointers on how to behave.

With that in mind, today’s guest post comes from Simon, who will cover some easy way to avoid common irritants while attending a live performance in his hometown of London, England.


A theater in London, England
A theater in London, England

In a recent poll, visitors to the theatre in London on a theatre break were asked to list their main irritations.


  1. Price of going to the theatre
  2. Leg Room in theatres
  3. Steep Stairs in theatres
  4. Price of Refreshments/Programmes
  5. Others talking during the show
  6. Others eating loudly
  7. Others singing along with the show
  8. Drinking from plastic glasses
  9. Queues at the theatre Bar
  10. Queues at the Ladies’ loo

Some things, such as other audience members eating loudly for example, were really out of anyone’s control, but if, when you buy your theatre tickets for London shows, you ask for seats with easy access you will find that most of those problems are eradicated.

Big Ben, London England
Biggah-Ben. That’s what I called it Big Ben when I visited London as a 3 year old in a stroller with my parents

I say “most” because the main complaint is still price, although I will cover that another time – oh yes, even a trip to the theatre in London can be cheap if you know what you are doing.

So what does a seat with easy access give you? As your theatre seat will be on the aisle:


  1. It gives you leg room,
  2. It gets rid of the problem of steep stairs and
  3. It means that you can avoid long queues by getting to the loo quickly and therefore be the smug one coming out rather than the desparate one going in.
  4. If you want to have a drink it means you can get to the theatre bar first too. This also means that you have enough time to drink your drink and
  5. You don’t have to resort to putting it into a plastic glass to take back in, but even better, it does actually give you time to dash out of the theatre and buy a cheaper drink from the pub next door… I’ll be covering that one in my “Cheap London Theatre-going” article next time.

Because you are on the aisle you are probably better off standing until everyone else has taken their seat. Don’t waste this time by gawping: chat to the stewards, be friendly and when the moment is right just say 6) “may I have a quick look at one of those” pointing to a theatre programme – hey presto, you’ve just saved yourself £5! You will have to return it, but you’ve got the information you need and not paid a penny.

The problem of 7, 8 & 9) basically the behaviour of others during the show, is a trickier nut to crack. At some theatres you could get a box and remove yourself completely from your fellow theatregoers. You could ask your new friend the steward to intervene or you could have a go yourself. But whatever you decide to do, by being on the aisle you’ve cut by half the number of people sitting next to you and therefore the potential likelyhood of you sitting next to a Muncher or a Chatterer! Not perfect, but I’ll take those odds!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Simon Harding has spent 28 years working in the theatre industry as a ticket agent, tour operator, producer, stage hand, actor and follow spot operator. During that time he has visited every London West End theatre. He has only once asked another member of the audience to be quite when, during the Monty Python musical “Spamalot“, a gentleman behind him kept pre-empting the punchlines! Often to be found in an aisle seat, his favorite London pub is The Salisbury – perfect for an interval drink at the Noel Coward Theatre. He currently writes for several theatre and London theatre breaks websites.