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Democracy in Action

February 16, 2010

Those who don’t choose to subscribe to the theory that awards are like haemorrhoids ( sooner or later every bum gets one) will have noticed that the Whatsonstage.com Awards took place last Sunday. What makes these unique – at least until the Society of London Theatre got in on the act this year – is that the winners are chosen by open public vote, rather than a panel of appointed judges.

Theatremonkey was also built exclusively on the opinions of ordinary ticket buyers, and I include myself in that. Now, though, I have to wonder just how thin the line is between being an “ordinary” and a “professional” theatregoer. Two things triggered the thought. First, Whatsonstage readers rarely pick anything “middle of the road.” They focus with ease on the very best… and the most popular (not always the same thing). That suggests their voters are either connoisseurs or wild enthusiasts. Does that make them “general public”? Not sure.

Similarly, I recently found myself enjoying a show very much indeed. Coming home, though, I wondered if I’d have enjoyed it as much had I actually paid the original asking price for the ticket? That isn’t the same as when I’m assessing a seat for “value and quality” for a book rating – there it is comfort and view that are key – but the show itself. Was it worth about two week’s Tesco money? The views of theatremonkey website readers suggest it was… but by having those doubts, does that mean I may myself be easing towards some mythic line between amateur and professional? Hmmm…

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