Know Your Audience Before You Open Your Mouth

The Theatre Royal in Plymouth is a clumsy concrete and glass structure which lacks the charm and romance of the more historical theatres such as the Alhambra in Bradford but to be fair it’s played host to a number of excellent touring productions over the years including Wicked, Cats and the Lion King.

On my youngest niece’s birthday we all trooped up to watch “Dirty Dancing” which was also excellent although no one is ever really going to be able to fill the dancing shoes of the late great Patrick “snake hips” Swayze. For me personally Claire Rogers as Penny stole the show as the resident dancer leaving every little girl watching her begging their parents for dance lessons.

Our tickets cost over £40 each and for a party of five it made theatre night an expensive excursion not to mention pre-show meal and drinks. Money well spent if it’s a good show and whilst that certainly applied in this case, some of the theatre ushers were less than courteous. I appreciate that not all customers are sunshine and flowers but is it really necessary to speak to patrons as if they are unruly children. It is not the first time I have attended a show at the Theatre Royal whereby I have felt that some of the ushers were less than civil and it occurs to me in these times of recession that audiences should be encouraged not discouraged by brusque and ill-mannered individuals taking the joy out of an expensive occasion. Whilst we enjoyed the show immensely, what theatre management should remember that they are supposed to be providing a memorable and positive theatre experience for audiences to ensure that in these slow economic times that they keep coming back. Personally I feel quite strongly that surly jobsworths have no business working within the customer service sector so maybe Theatres need as much attention spent in recruiting their in-house teams as they do in marketing their productions.

A few years’ ago I attended a pantomime where the theatre staff were also dressed in costume which not only added to the party atmosphere but made you smile as soon as you stepped into the foyer which I’m sure that many theatre goers like myself remembered for years to come. What a pity that many will go away from the Theatre Royal Plymouth remembering it for all the wrong reasons.


15 thoughts on “Know Your Audience Before You Open Your Mouth

  1. Your post reminded me of the profound words of Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This post is a reminder that kindness and compassion must begin within us all. Thank you, my dear, dear friend.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. That’s a dirty shame of the folks working there to put a damper on an otherwise memorable evening. I liked Dirty Dancing the movie. I can not imagine paying forty bucks plus food and drink and then along comes the surly and disgruntled employees.

    As we say over here- they need an attitude adjustment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love going to the theater and could not agree with you more on this one. There are venues I avoid like the plague here in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area for exactly the reasons you have highlighted. I will tell you one of the best experiences I ever had though and it happened in London.

    I wanted to see Les Miserable, it was the end of a run and so I stayed over a weekend before returning home after two weeks of work. I think it was the Queens Theater, but wouldn’t swear to it though that is where they are playing today. Suffice to say, I was fortunate in having a single wonderful seat where I could see everything. They caught by my drawl I wasn’t from those parts and I was treated wonderfully! The show was wonderful and the service, superior.

    I have never forgotten either.


    • I remember going to theatres especially during panto season where acts walked around the bars and foyers during the interval and on one occasion the cast danced in the aisles before jumping onto the stage during a performance of Buddy and it was magical

      Liked by 1 person

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