Say Cheese!

There has long been a touchy relationship between theatre and cameras during performances. But I have two reasons why this rule shouldn’t apply to the time the audience is waiting for the show to start. And they both work in the show’s favour . . .


No doubt, if you have been to the theatre then you have been ticked off by the ushers for taking a photo of the curtain. I know I was in New York when I saw Wicked and was trying to discreetly take a photo of the elaborate curtain which featured the map of Oz.

However, I was at the Kristin Chenoweth concert last week . . .

Can I just make a side note of how phenomenal the show was? Showcased her whole variety of repertoire across television, movies and musicals and really showed off her powerhouse voice!

Let me try that again. I was at the Kristin Chenoweth concert last week at Hamer Hall and ushers were asking people not to take photos of the stage (there isn’t a curtain) which consisted of a microphone stand, a grand piano and some stands and chairs for the musicians.

Now, I can understand not allowing cameras while she is on stage as people could be filming the event and selling it on the internet which would decrease the number of people lining up to buy tickets. But a bare stage? Wouldn’t there be some advantage of letting people take photos of the stage before the show started? I think so, and here’s why:

Reason #1: The audience were doing one of two things while waiting for the show to start; reading the program or surfing their social media sites/texting their friends. (That is if they weren’t trying to sneak a photo of the stage)

Nowadays, everybody is looking to show off on social media, hence the popularity of the check-in feature on Facebook. By letting your audience take a photo of the stage, they would be more likely to check-in to the concert to show off the wonderful seats they have or just to prove they went to the concert! This is a big bonus for the show because it means that the audience is creating positive buzz to their networks even before the show has started.

It is also the one photo that the audience would take which wouldn’t give away anything about the show. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see the curtain of a show and think ‘Well that’s ruined it for me, I won’t be going to see that anymore!’

Reason #2: You know why holiday snaps are effective? Because they cause you to relive the memories from your holiday and remember the fantastic time away. Well, the photo of the curtain can do the same thing.

By having the curtain photo in the audience’s photo gallery on their smart phone, and on their Facebook/Twitter gallery if they shared it, they will be reminded of the show and the enjoyable experience. If your show is long-running, it is these kind of connections that are going to cause people to remember how cool your offering is and encourage them to buy tickets to come and see it again!

While I don’t run any theatres, I think that there is a pretty strong argument for letting the audience take some happy-snaps before the show starts. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Don’t tell anyone from Wicked in New York, but I did get that photo of the Wicked curtain (and even just posting it here is making me want to buy more tickets!).