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Types of Audience.

March 22, 2017

I often single out individuals in an audience for special notice. Normally of course because they are obnoxious. But there are also general audiences that I can predict, and I thought I’d list a few.

The National Theatre Crowd. Older, regular theatregoers, know how to behave and know their way around the auditorium. They take their seats quickly (they’ve booked those numbers a hundred times before) and know when to laugh, clap and remain silent.

The Almeida Crowd. Same as the National, but frankly even wealthier and better informed. Don’t attempt to talk or eat in the auditorium – one look and you will be ashes.

The Trade Night Lot. Guests of a ticket or marketing company, there on a freebie. If they turn up, the respectful are seasoned theatregoers who know how to behave. The rest can be the office juniors out on a “jolly,” and as bad as…

…The Jukebox Rabble. Drunken single-sex parties, singing along and that’s if they don’t know the words. Pity they never realise there’s anyone else in the audience.

Fangirls. Found at the long-running shows. They know to the second and millimetre what everyone will do and where they will be. And let those around them know it. Avoid the front row at “Wicked” on a “cast change” weekend, basically.

Long Runners. Not those who missed the bus and found alternative transport. Just those who wanted cheap last minute tickets and found that only shows on since Bruce Forsythe was a teenager have them available. Often tourists, with limited command of English, or obssessives who have gone beyond fangirl to actually set up home in the venue.

Time Servers. See everything, and are not impressed. In fact, almost treat what is a treat for others as “another day at the office.” An empty seat at the interval indicates their lack of impressedness with the show.

Harassed Parents. Sit still, quiet, “I don’t know, now shush.” Actually, rare. I watched in horror as one pre-teen was allowed to worm her way upside down in her seat, to place her feet on the front of the stage, head below them, at one play. Good reason to buy a seat in a box, well away from the melee…

Repeat Offenders. Again, at long running shows. Seen it, and like fangirls, can tell you to the millimetre if the current lead is standing in a different place. They don’t, though. They just look grimly at you if you happen to have been allocated “their” seat that night.

Matinee Folk. Younger at weekends than weekdays (but not by much during school terms), anyway… Will know the old classics, will be shocked by language at the new ones. Still, they will have the odd tale to tell, so worth chatting to.

And finally, the everyday. Straight from work, just want to enjoy a peaceful night out. Wish there were more of them, to be honest.

 

4 Comments
  1. Liz permalink
    March 22, 2017 10:03 am

    You could add the ‘Special Occasioners’. They come to the theatre once a year/blue moon for a significant bithday and are very anxious to get ‘the best’ seats. They dress up, arrive early, buy a programme and an ice cream and pre- order their interval drinks because that’s what you do. I love them.

    • Steve Rich permalink
      March 22, 2017 10:15 am

      Oh yes, nice people, you are right, good one for the list :). Thanks Liz, LOL. Best, Steve.

  2. Francesca Clementis permalink
    March 22, 2017 3:26 pm

    And don’t forget School Parties, accompanied by poor harrassed teachers. At The Woman in Black, they actually ‘warn’ you that it is likely there will be school parties at every performance as the play is a regular set text. Many of the kids find it impossible to switch their phones off and will surreptitiously text all through the play. When I took my daughter and her friend to see Woman in Black, a couple of girls in our row were texting so much that some of the audience complained to the ushers. I told the teenagers off in the interval (like the wicked harridan I am…) and they were suitably mortified. The teachers in charge were so cross with the girls that they then inspected every phone to make sure it was switched off. The kids definitely seemed gripped by the scary goings-on of Act Two without the distraction of their phones. For many of these young people, this could be the first and only time they ever go to the theatre so I am passionate about making sure they embrace the opportunity. Tough love really works…

    • Steve Rich permalink
      March 22, 2017 3:57 pm

      Excellent point. Yes, I know the standard warning – a good reason to go during the summer holidays or early September before school trips are organised…

      Well done dealing with it, that’s what I would have done too. Hope the scare worked on them and showed them that live theatre can be equally as frightening as any horror film.

      Tough love works indeed, delighted :).

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