Author Topic: Patrons behaving badly  (Read 6041 times)

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Re: Patrons behaving badly
« Reply #15 on: Jul 14, 2015, 02:20 pm »
This subject is my rabbit hole this summer while prepping for next season.  I thought this was an interesting read.
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Michelle R. Wood

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Re: Patrons behaving badly
« Reply #16 on: Jul 14, 2015, 08:00 pm »
@Samantha: Thanks for the link, I quite agree with many of his thoughts. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say "tear it all down," but we have to realize that much of what we consider the norm is a relatively recent invention. Finding balance is something I think is the key (as is so often the case).

@PSMKay: As for precautions, I'd say having good instructions for front-of-house staff and ushers is important. Sometimes we work in theatres that have that, sometimes we don't. In my earliest community days we often performed in a music school, setting up thurst staging in the largest room with chairs on risers. It was very, very intimate. We often stationed an usher on the "stage" just to help direct audience members to the correct "aisle" and keep them from touching set pieces.

I like the suggestion you made of putting things out for audience members to do. Often intermission is purely about waiting for everyone to get back from the bathroom, so that those who left are simply waiting around. Perhaps instead of just ads and bios, the program could have something interactive in it (depending on the show, of course)? Like: see how many things you can spot in the theatre, with explanations of what they are? I don't know, if you've got a website or mobile app at the theatre, it could be truly interactive as well. Something for the noobs to learn and that the vets can ignore if they like.
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Re: Patrons behaving badly
« Reply #17 on: Jul 14, 2015, 09:12 pm »
In my last show, the script calls for a painting on the stage that can only be seen from behind - the audience sees it there, but they have to imagine it. It is covered during intermission, but not at pre or post show. Sure enough, audience members would step right onto the stage the second the show was over. If we didn't catch them early enough, they would wander up a hallway in the set toward backstage.

All we could really do was watch them very carefully. I learned to hurry toward the stage as soon as the show was over so I could direct people away from it, because they would always manage to sneak past the ushers.

I've also had people steal rocks off the set, or take small props (syringes, handkerchiefs) that were too close DS.

We all get distracted by tasks, like directing someone to the bathroom or checking up on a sick actor. Is there a good way to make sure something is being watched at all times the audience could interact with it?


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Re: Patrons behaving badly
« Reply #18 on: Jul 15, 2015, 02:48 am »
Is there a good way to make sure something is being watched at all times the audience could interact with it?

In a lot of the larger union houses, the FOH staff has that job. Ushers are stationed at the stage both L and R to keep audience members (and their hands) off.


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Re: Patrons behaving badly
« Reply #19 on: Aug 24, 2015, 01:42 pm »
Working for a Bach Festival over the summer, patrons at times just walk backstage (via our glass hallway) from the parking lot. We post a large sign right in front of the doors that says "Participants Only" and there is a sign on the door itself that says "Authorized Personnel Only." My office is linked to this glass hallway and I tend to catch those that start to walk towards the doors so that I can redirect them. This generally works, but...

I was very focused on my work and a couple walked down the glass hallway towards my office, I hopped out to ask if I could help them. They said, "Oh, we know where we're going" and proceeded to walk towards the doors to Stage Right. I kept trying to stop them, "You're backstage, you need to leave" -  but they just kept going. Finally I had to raise my voice at the husband when he walked into the wings to make him to come back and exit the theater. He said, "I know where I'm going - I'm going to the lecture, I just wanted to take a different route." For some reason, that route was on stage, which is no where remotely close to the basement where the lectures are held.


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Re: Patrons behaving badly
« Reply #20 on: Aug 31, 2015, 07:46 am »
Not patrons necessarily, but...
The rather large building I work is called ImaginOn and it houses both Children's Theatre of Charlotte and the Charlotte Mecklenberg children's library. Our building is open to the public except for several sets of double doors that require a keycard for entry; well, that is when they decide to operate correctly. Usually it's not a problem, but for several weeks when the entire keycard system was down I caught two teenagers hiding in our smaller theatre that was dark (they ducked when they saw me; I waited a few seconds and when they snuck their heads out and saw I was looking straight at them, they gave up hiding). I had to escort them out.
On two different occasions in the same time period I followed two adults I didn't recognize down our long hallway. Both times they wandered to the stage of our larger space which was basically a construction zone prepping for tech, with a hole at center stage taped off, and no one around because the crew was at lunch. I asked what they were doing: "We just wanted to look around." Escorted them out as well.


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