Category Archives: Drama



Dear Actor,

Congratulations on getting the part you auditioned for, you obviously love the arts and really shone in the part you read for.
When asked; “What’s everyone’s availability for rehearsals?” you didn’t speak up, leaving us to understand that as being; “No problems here, I’m not going away anywhere, you can count on me”.
Like I said in the opening of this letter, you clearly love the arts. After all, this is the amateur side, we do not get paid for it, we do it for the love of it. so, you can imagine my surprise/disappointment when you’re not showing  up to rehearsals. “I didn’t know” or “I forgot” are the most common excuses we here. How can you forget about your hobby? How can you not know? Did you not think to ask?

So, to summarise: #DearActor, Pull your finger out, or there will be no show!

sweet wrappers

How Can We Encourage Better Behaviour at the Theatre?

The following post was taken from 
Composed by Michelle Rago  @ragomp

Rule 12: Keep your hands out of your mouth

I have a friend who remembers life events by what was occurring in sports at the time. “We broke up the night Maryland made it to the Final Four in 2002” is a good example of his type of recall. I have developed a similar condition, but not with sports. I now remember the performing arts events I attend by the misbehavior other audience members perpetrate.


  • The Nance, Lyceum Theater, 2013
    Someone’s telephone rang at the worst possible moment. It was such a loud and old-fashioned ringtone I thought it was part of the show. The actors had to wait it out before proceeding with the scene.
  • A Little Night Music, Walter Kerr Theater, 2010
    The woman behind me went elbow-deep in and out of a box of hard pretzels. You can’t eat hard pretzels quietly and she didn’t tax herself by trying.
  • Man and Boy, American Airlines Theatre, 2011
    The man sitting next to me never took his hands out of his mouth and he was a loud chewer. #GetAManicure
  • The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Round House Theatre, 2013
    If you can’t hear or don’t understand what is going on, by all means keep reminding your party and those of us around you.

Shows Can Also Be Organized by Offense

  • Gum-cracking:
    – The Flick, Playwrights Horizons, 2013 (Some people just have to fill the silences.)
    – Brian Stokes Mitchell, The Kennedy Center, 2013
    – Red, Arena Stage, 2012
  • Teenage girls giggling and pointing:
    – Once, Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 2012 (Yes, Steve Kazee is handsome.)
    – That Championship Season, Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 2011 (They couldn’t get over being so close to Mr. Big.)
  • Drunk couples in their 60s-70s giggling and pointing:
    – Company, Signature Theatre, 2013 (The sex scene put them over the edge.)
    – That Championship Season, Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 2011 (“They let you bring drinks in here!”)
  • Singing along:
    – Show Boat, The Kennedy Center, 2013
    – My Fair Lady, Arena Stage, 2012

The Strangest of All

And now for the strangest of all transgressions. It occurred during a performance of American Buffalo at The Studio Theatre, Washington, D.C., 2010.

This was the first time I ever asked to change seats. A couple sat down next to us and read their programs. This is a good sign. They are less likely to open the program to look up the name of an actor as soon as the first funny line is delivered. The gentleman made a show of taking off his jacket. This is a bad sign. He needs attention. The gentleman spread his jacket horizontally over his legs making sure to leave part of it on my seat. (His encroachment on my leg space is a given.) The lights went down and he rolled up his program and held it in his lap. This is a very bad sign. It’s not a comfortable way to hold one’s program so clearly the program is going to be handled in some way during the show. Within one minute I learned what he intended to do with it. He intended to scrape it along his face at two-minute intervals. This is not an exaggeration. SCRAPE SCRAPE on the right cheek. SCRAPE SCRAPE on the left temple. It was so loud. He looked like the Aramis man so he had plenty to scrape against. How could his wife not say anything? He took a break from scraping to read something in the program. It was way too dark to read so he resumed exfoliation.

I usually just seethe, too cowardly to say anything, and also too worried about disturbing more people by confronting the person. The most I will do is stare. On rare occasions I consult an usher. I stared hard at the exfoliator, but he didn’t stop. I shifted in my seat and stared again. Then I think he did it because I looked at him. Someone in front of us glared at him. He didn’t stop. The intermission finally came. Luckily there were other seats available and the usher kindly let us have them.

What Is To Be Done?

The issue of theater etiquette received a great deal of attention earlier this year when writer and theater critic Kevin Williamson, during a production ofNatasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, grabbed and threw the phone of a fellow audience member who wouldn’t stop using her device even after several complaints were made. Williamson was praised and criticized.

Publicly denouncing the sinner every now and then must do some good, right? Breaches of etiquette disrespect the artists and other audience members. It’s important for people to realize that their behavior impacts the actors and everyone around them. Patti LuPone stopped a production ofGypsy to eject a person taking pictures.

I have to believe LuPone’s response served as a warning to others in the audience and to those who heard about it after the fact. Some actors tweet their frustrations. This too helps build awareness.

I would like more performers to speak out about theatre etiquette. I have heard some artists worry about the negative impact of thrusting a list of rules on people who choose to attend a live performance, but this theatregoer welcomes those efforts.

Theatres should discuss etiquette in more detail beyond the usual “turn off your cellphones and don’t unwrap candy.” I realize that not many etiquette list compilers would have included “Don’t scrape your program against your face” but there are frequent sins that could be reduced with more discussion and education. (In case you’re wondering why I don’t just ignore it as has been suggested to me, I can’t. I’ve tried. I can’t. If you have tips I would love to hear them.)

Including a statement about etiquette in a program or Playbill seems to be increasingly rare. The following list of “Gentle Reminders” is the best I’ve seen. The list was included in a program from the Arts Club Theatre Company in Vancouver. I enjoyed their 2012 production of Intimate Apparelduring which I experienced no audience issues. I’ve reproduced the list below. It’s also included on their FAQ page.

Gentle Reminders

It is very important to turn off all electronic devices for the duration of the show. If you are concerned about missing an emergency call, please leave your name, device, and seat location with an usher and we will alert you if a call comes through.

Please be modest with your use of fragrances as some patrons may have allergies.

Please wait until intermission or after the performance to discuss the show. (Even whispers carry!)

We request that you refrain from eating or unwrapping candy in the theatre as it causes distractions for others.

Photography is strictly prohibited in Arts Club theatres. Please visit our Facebook and Flickr pages for photos of our productions, and YouTube for videos.

If you have a complaint about another guest, please tell an usher or the Guest Services Manager rather than approaching the person yourself. We will be happy to address concerns on your behalf.

Please contact the Guest Services Manager at 604.731.4687 ext. 403 if you have suggestions on how we can serve you better.

This is a great list! Why aren’t similar lists included more often? Here are two more good examples: Straz Center and Broadway Theatre League.

How Long Has This Been Going On?

Of course this is not a new problem. Lilian Bell, a novelist born in 1867, brilliantly satirizes the etiquette breachers in this 1906 New-York Tribunepiece.

“Etiquette of the Theater” by Lilian Bell, New-York Tribune, 1906

A Selection of Marvellous Quotes:
On arriving late:

Your purchase money gives you the right to disturb the audience and upset the actors.

On coughing:

If you have a sneezing or coughing cold so that everybody at home wants to send you to a hospital, don’t let the thought of disturbing some thousand people…keep you from going to the theatre. You may cough your head off; nobody will do anything.

On singing along:

If you like the music, sing or whistle it with the people on the stage…Besides, the actors are only doing their best. Why respect them?

On talking:

If you don’t understand what is passing on the stage, ask your escort what it is and have him explain it to you. It gives your neighbours an exquisite joy. Or, if you particularly enjoy the points, repeat them aloud.

My List

I have included my not-so-gentle reminders below. Please let me know if you have others (or if you disagree that this is a problem).

  1. Don’t eat.
  2. Don’t jangle your bracelets.
  3. Don’t dig in your purse.
  4. Don’t check the time.
  5. If you don’t absolutely have to cough, don’t.
  6. Don’t talk unless the performance calls for your participation.
  7. When the lights go down put the program away. Put the program in your bag or under your chair. You don’t need it while the show is being performed. Don’t touch the program during the show.
  8. If you must have something to drink during the show (yes, I realize more and more theaters allow and even encourage the audience to bring drinks to their seats) please be mindful of the noise that a cup of ice makes when you tilt it in and out of your mouth and please try not to do that during the show. Please also see that your beverage bottle does not take a rolling trip to the first row.
  9. Don’t crack your gum.
  10. Turn your phone off, obviously. Please don’t wait until the last second to turn it off. That moment when the lights go down before the show starts can be such a great one. Most often now it is dotted with blue screens. And make sure the blasted thing is off before intermission ends.
  11. Clean up after yourself. Why should someone else have to pick up your garbage?

That’s my list! Did I forget anything?

Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Briton Ferry Little Theatre, would like to wish all it’s members and followers a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We are all going to be very busy over this Christmas period, what with family, celebrations and of course, Panto rehearsals. Which is why we thought we’d take this opportunity wish you all the best for this Holiday Season.

See you all in 2014!


Dress Rehearsal

It’s dress rehearsal day!

Today’s the day for ironing out all those creases before performing in front of a live audience.

Dress-rehearsals were always my least favourite performance. There is something about performing in-front of a live audience that seems lift everyone involved, not just the actors, but also the crew get a buzz from a full house.

This is why, as a theatre, we like to have members of the society to sit and watch the dress, so the cast and crew feel that buzz from opening night.

So, if you want to join in and be a part of the magical experience of live theatre, then come on down to see us tomorrow night. Tickets can be bought from here or you can turn up and pay at the door, event details can be found here

A day in the life of…

We will soon be starting a series of blog posts from members of the society. This series, you might have guessed will be titled “A day in the life of…” and will follow a member around on a typical, theatre related day.

The first in this series shall come from our Poster and Programme designer – Gareth Rees