You can have your cake but don’t eat it at the theatre or Imelda Staunton will be after you

wilma-sweetsNot a week goes by in this business we call show without someone writing an article about the topic of how to behave at the theatre. This week it has been the turn of West End legend Imelda Staunton who told the Radio Times she doesn’t understand why people “can’t engage in just one thing, watching a play without needing to constantly graze in their seat”.

The mobile ticketing app TodayTix have responded with an open letter to Imelda Staunton telling her about their new range of ‘silent snacks’ that have been specially created to create a happy medium for this age old issue of whether or not theatre’s should sell food and drink for consumption during a performance.

Personally, I wouldn’t be too happy if I wasn’t allowed to take a glass of wine in to enjoy during a show but that’s not noisy and doesn’t really smell and cause any disruption (and at up to £10 per glass I don’t think theatre’s will stop selling it without a fight). But is there a need to sell noisy foods? Crisps, popcorn and plastic bags of sweets are probably amongst the highest noise makers in the world and so who on earth thought that selling them at the theatre, when people have paid an awful lot of money to hear and see a show, is acceptable?

If i am ever feeling a little naughty and do want to buy some sweets to quietly suck on during the show, I empty them into a plastic cup from the bar. This way there is no noisy paper rustling and you can just pick up a sweet without disturbing anyone.

I think a compromise needs to be made. It seems silly to ban food and drink completely at the theatre. Theatre’s should be allowed to make money by selling refreshments but perhaps a little more consideration could be paid to what exactly is being put on sale and the packaging it is presented in. Surely that isn’t too much to ask?

Let me know what you think about this issue on social media Facebook Twitter or you can email me wilma@westendwilma.com. Most excitingly of all you can write me an old fashioned letter now as well to my new PO Box address (PO Box 73609, London, SE13 9EE).