Are theatregoers ‘entitled’ to get autographs after a seeing a show?

Earlier this week, someone posted a photo online of a sign outside of the Gielgud Theatre, saying that Patti LuPone and Rosalie Craig would not be coming out of the stage door between the matinee and the evening performance and that if people wanted autographs, they could leave their items at the stage door to be signed and collected after the evening performance. The note went on to say that if audience members were unable to return after the evening show, they could leave the item to be signed, along with a stamped addressed envelope and it would be delivered to them.

A huge topic of conversation in the theatre industry right now is about whether or not people should feel entitled to meet the stars of the show to get a photograph or autograph when they exit the stage door. OBVIOUSLY the answer is no and I think most self respecting human beings understand that the price of a ticket is to watch the show and not to meet the cast afterwards. These people are performing eight shows per week and deserve to rest their voices and bodies between shows. If they are kind enough to stop when leaving the theatre to talk to you then that is just because they are doing a really nice thing. But when people start to expect this to happen after every show, that is wrong.

So, whilst I love the idea that I could get an autograph from Patti LuPone whilst she is here in London (especially without waiting out in the cold), are signs like this giving people the wrong idea that they are allowed to expect to receive an autograph if they come to the show? Surely we should be discouraging this kind of behaviour to avoid audience members from feeling more and more entitled?

Let me know your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.

West End Wilma


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