Stage actors infuriated by audience members watching England World Cup penalties on phones and cheering

'You are the most ignorant audience members I have ever had the misfortune to perform before'

Jack Shepherd
Thursday 05 July 2018 14:55

Imagine, for a minute, that you have spent upwards of £20 on a front row seat to see Titanic: The Musical at the Nottingham Theatre Royal.

Come the day of the performance and, surprisingly, England are playing Colombia in a World Cup knockout game.

The most sensible thing to do would likely be to watch the performance (as you have already paid to see Titanic) and catch up on the game later.

But, perhaps you're a huge football fan and need to watch the game. Chances are, you would decide to stay home/head to the pub and watch the game.

Two women decided something altogether different on Tuesday (3 July). Rather than not attend, they went to see Titanic and watched the England game on their mobile phones, cheering along as the penalties went in England's favour.

As you may have suspected, the cast of Nottingham show were left unimpressed and decided to express their outrage on Twitter.

“To the two women in the front row tonight who not only followed the penalty shootout on their phone, but also said ‘yesss’ on each goal scored,” actor Niall Sheehy wrote, “you are the most ignorant audience members I have ever had the misfortune to perform in front of.”

Other actors from the performance were also left annoyed by the audience members. Kieran Brown posted: “Dumbfounded. Two ladies, one older, one middle aged, slap bang front row, clearly watching football on phones during the most poignant moment of lifeboats scene, cheering and giggling like stupid schoolgirls.”

“To say I’m raging is an understatement,” he added. ”They should be marched out in disgrace!”

Stephen Webb, another actor, expressed a similar sentiment, writing: “If you come to theatre to see the show do not... I say do not... sit there on your phone to watch the World Cup! Stay at home! it’s so disrespectful!”

In a statement, Nottingham Theatre Royal said that attendees were told to switch their mobile phones off before entering the auditorium and a duty officer had not noticed a disturbance.

It reads: “It would seem that these two audience members seated on the front row, only a few feet away from the stage, perhaps had not realised that their actions could be both seen and heard.

“Even if audience members feel that they are being quiet or discreet in checking their phones during a performance, it is both disrespectful and distracting to the actors on stage and to the other people around them.

“Our staff are vigilant in stopping this kind of behaviour, where it is practical to do so without further distracting from the action on stage, but we do also rely on people using courtesy and respect to those around them when they come to see a live theatre performance.”

England went on to defeat Colombia, progressing to the quarter finals of the World Cup. Coincidently, a matinee performance of Titanic will be taking place at the same time as the match against Sweden – at 15:00BST on Saturday. The cast will no doubt be hoping the audience do not decide to watch midway through the performance.

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