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Should theatres allow food and drink during performances?

By: stagedoorscribbler - December 18, 2017

Imelda Staunton hates people during performances

West End theatre boss Nica Burns has raised a few eyebrows demanding that the theatre-world adapts to society’s changing values and embraces the idea of allowing food and drink to be consumed during performances.

She points out that the era of people eating three square meals a day is a thing of the past. We tend to eat on the go these days. Theatres need to accommodate this or risk losing audiences. I’ll just pause a minute while you take that little bombshell on board. 

There will be plenty for whom the very idea of people noshing and slurping in the stalls will be an abomination.

Imelda Staunton for one. She has publicly complained about people eating during shows and, when she starred in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? earlier this year, all food was banned from the theatre.

Burns takes a different tack. She accepts that noise is not on and has recently been running tests to find snacks that don’t disturb . She has already banned some that are considered ‘too loud’.  

Not just the food either. Her company, theatre operator Nimax, is testing for noisy packaging too.