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In-Person Engagement Trends: The good, but mainly the bad and the ugly

Ella Bailey
26 January 2024
In-Person Engagement Trends: The good, but mainly the bad and the ugly

We've launched a survey to over 350 arts organisations around the experiences of arts managers and their teams in approaching audience members who are disrupting live preformances. The responses are rolling and now we want to extend the reach of our questions to collate the responses into something of value for the sector through shared learnings and experiences. Have your say and take our 5-minute anonymous survey. . . Conversations around audience behaviour seem to be cropping up more and more post-pandemic and they're not fading anytime fast. It's a conversation we've covered before, when we spoke to Dr Kirsty Sedgman about the intricate dynamics of theatre etiquette and its links to the question of inclusivity.

At Ticketsolve, we want to understand what's really happening across UK and Irish venues when it comes to in-person audience engagement trends - so we're inviting you to share your experiences in our short, anonymous survey. We're hoping that by bringing together everyone's experiences, we can gain insight into how to tackle this industry-wide challenge collaboratively.


“Theatre etiquette” hits the headlines once more

Audience behaviour is back in the news again with the story of Andrew Scott who, when playing Hamlet, was forced to pause the “to be or not to be” soliloquy when an audience member decided to pull out his laptop and answer some emails…
This has sparked further stories of disruptions surrounding phone use, consumption of (crunchy) food or too much alcohol. And these stories of antisocial behaviour by audiences have been cropping up again and again post-pandemic: from forbidden photos to the police being called to performances. 

Audience interruptions are not only totally off putting for onstage performances but seriously stressful for front of house and box office - not forgetting having to deal complaints that trickle in from members of the audience also impacted.

We want to hear from you

Here at Ticketsolve we want to understand what's really happening in venues like yours when it comes to audience behaviour. We're inviting you to take 5 minutes or less to share your experiences in our anonymous survey.

By participating you’ll be able to weigh in on current audience etiquette trends, see how your venue compares to others across the UK and Ireland, and access an exclusive report of the survey findings & other resources. We hope that by pooling knowledge, we can gain understanding of how we can create industry-wide support to address this challenge!

We know you’re busy, so we’ve kept it short (the survey shouldn’t take more than five minutes to complete) and you can submit anonymously if you wish.


The more the merrier as they say, and we believe there's a lot of value in sharing the tips and responses to these challenges so please feel free to share with colleagues, contacts and friends! 

Delve deeper into the conversation

The conversation around audience behaviour is a complex one, however, as we discovered when we chatted to the University of Bristol’s Kirsty Sedgman on the topic last year. 

Kirsty takes us through the intricate dynamics of theatre etiquette and explains the historical roots of silence and reverence in the theatre, exploring how social structures and expectations have shaped our perceptions of “reasonable behaviour”. 

She also reminds us of the links between this conversation and the question of inclusivity, and of the importance of making accommodations for individuals with different needs as well as for community outreach; concluding that expectations of behaviour should not impinge on the sense of togetherness that is one of the theatre’s biggest powers.


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