Hey everyone! I’ve written a few opinionated and in-depth pieces recently so just thought I’d change it up a bit and give you all some breathing space with this little light-hearted piece.
I know a lot of performers have their “pre-show rituals” which help them prepare and get ready for the show but, overtime, I’ve noticed that I find myself doing sort of pre-show rituals before watching a show!
Sounds odd but if you’re a regular theatre-goer you may relate to more of these than you might think…
Step 1: Before the day of the show: Announce you’re going to see it
Nothing gets the hype going more than sharing it on social media that you’ve just booked tickets (even if this is literally months before…)
Step 2: The day of the show: Share that you’re on your way
Here’s me announcing to the world that I’m on the way to the theatre! This was on my way to see The Bodyguard at The Dominion Theatre in January 2017.
Step 2.5: Before the show: Visit The Theatre Cafe
I say this as step 2.5 because it is an optional extra and only if the location allows. If you’re seeing a show in London, more specifically around Leicester Square or on Shaftesbury Avenue, it’s pretty much a given right that you need to visit The Theatre Cafe before your show. Not only does it serve amazing food and drinks, but its stagey atmosphere made up of posters, merchandise and soundtracks playing on repeat really gets you in the theatre mood!
Step 3: Approximately 19.00: Arrive at the theatre
This is an important one to not be late for because if you are then everything else falls out of place. I always aim to get to the theatre for about 7 so I have plenty of time for all the photos I want! Starting with a photo of the theatre, followed by a photo of me outside the theatre!
I always like to be there at 7 in case the theatre has other promotional posters etc. that I might want photos of:
Step 4: Approximately 19.05: Enter the theatre
Sounds like a silly one but again, I love to have the time to appreciate the theatre, take a look at the cast and cover boards to see who I have on for specific roles, and of course take some piccies!
Step 5: Approximately 19.07: Find out where the stage door is
I hate it after a show when I want to rush to the stage door to catch the cast and I realise I don’t know where it is! Locate your nearest usher and simply ask them where the stage door is and how to get there to avoid any panic after the show!
Step 6: Approximately 19.10: Buy a programme
As you can see from this Instagram post, I do love to buy and keep my programmes! Frustrating that, unlike Playbills in the US, they cost money but I’m always happy to buy one to add to the collection!
I always like to allow myself plenty of time for this one so I can buy or have a look at any other merchandise. When I went to see Memphis I only initially bought a programme but I loved the show so much that at the interval I ran back to buy a T-shirt! Always worth having a look to see what else they’ve got for sale.
Step 7: Approximately 19.17: Pee!
The queues for the toilet in the interval are often crazy long and I hate spending my entire interval in the queue for the toilet or spending the first Act needing the toilet!
Step 8: Approximately 19.20: Find my seat
I love to get sat comfortably in my seat with enough time to adjust my jacket and bag under my chair, and read through the programme a little. Some standard theatre photos are often taken at this stage too, such as one of the ticket, the stage, a good old pre-show selfie and many more.
Step 9: Approximately 19.23: Social media!
Love to send out a tweet with what I’m about to see! Or if I feel like mixing it up I’ll do an Instagram story…the possibilities are ENDLESS! Sometimes I tag the show but I just love to share my excitement.
Step 10: Approximately 19.28: Turn phone off
I refuse to be that person who has their phone go off in the middle of the show and just putting it on silent is not enough comfort for me that it won’t ring in the middle of the show. No need for phones in a show, switch it off and enjoy the show.
Step 11: Approximately 19.30: SHOWTIME
Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!
Step 12: Approximately 22.10: Head to stage door!
Because we’ve already found out where stage door is (step 5), we can head straight there with confident knowledge of where we’re going. On my way I’m often frantically trying to turn my phone back on, find my sharpie (usually located at the BOTTOM of my bag), take the lid off, open the programme to the cast page and politely try to rush past the crowds. For some reason, I ALWAYS panic that I’m going to miss the cast or there’ll be a huge crowd before I get there, so if you’re in my way on the path to stage door, good luck, cause I’ll be barging through (politely).
Step 13: Approximately 22.50: Share my final thoughts with any stand-out cast members on social media
I don’t always do this, but sometimes I do – especially if I don’t catch the stand-out cast members who I wanted to see at the stage door.
Step 14: Add my new merch to their rightful places!
As I said, I always love to buy a programme and I also have a dedicated theatre shelf at home where they all live, so when I get home after a show my new programme joins the family. Similarly, I love to collect the leaflets from all the shows I see so I grab some blu-tac and add the flyer to the wall.
And there you have it! These are my 14 steps that I usually take whenever I see a show. I’m sure many theatre-goers will relate to these, let me know which ones! Have I missed any out? What else do you do before or after a show? Let me know!