The New York Post published an article on 11/4/2017 by Michael Riedel titled Actors say rude audiences are destroying Broadway. Although the focus is Broadway, all the complaints are nothing new; it’s like a crewing a well-worn cud of dissatisfaction.
- talk during the performance.
- unwrap candy.
- cough incessantly (but never leave).
- drop programs.
- drop purses and bags.
- drop cell phone.
- answer cell phones.
- neglect/ignore turning off cell phones.
- etc., etc., etc.
None of this is to belittle the negative impact thee distractions inflict on both performers and fellow audience members.
At the same time, I have yet to come across a genuinely effective measure capable of both marginalizing without simultaneously creating an off-putting concertgoing environment.
Identifying and classifying levels of distracting behavior is certainly a good first step and although shaming rude audience members, like this story from China about using laser lights, may seem cathartic, it doesn’t exactly refute the stereotype that performing arts events aren’t repressive and stuffy.
What I’m particularly interested in are studies that quantify behavior problems then measure efforts to design and implement a mitigation program.
I’ve been search and communicating with a few colleagues but outside of a few one-offs that have little to no follow-up.
If you’re aware of anything, please take a moment to share in a comment or reach out with a direct message.