about the theatre seats 'etiquette'?

(11 Posts)
noclueses Sun 29-Nov-15 23:42:35

I don't often go to the theatre, and usually if I do, I/we go for good seats, so the most I've done before is shift more to the centre if those seats aer unoccupied.
So I went to the West end theatre last week and it was officially a sold out show. I had a seat literally in the last row on the very very steep upper balcony, and this was between other occupied narrow seat. This was still not a cheap ticket at 25 pounds for that partial view! Behind the row there was standing room for 10 pounds, so some people were standing obviously.

I've noticed that there was a spare seat on the end of the row in row three - very restricted view but much lower down on same balcony and not squeezed between people - I moved there when they've closed the door. I could only see 1/3 of the stage if that so it was hardly anything premium. In the interval there was a man coming out of the middle of that row and I've heard him talking to his partner about seats, I wasn't really listening. As he was loud I looked at him and realised he was staring at me and talking (I only eventually clocked that he was talking, not just looking at, me or about me) - something about people being bullish to sit on the end of a row and there was more of a rant but I didn't listen to the first part. I thought he was being jocular about something so I smiled at him especially as he was older, to be polite, but he didn't smile back and then I realised he probably chastised me!
I mean, it was an empty seat. Is it seen as unacceptable to sit anywhere slightly better than your seat? I think people assumed I had a 10 pound standing seat as some did give me looks, so he was probably outraged that I took a 25-pound one but that was what I paid - I just wasn't going to prove anything to others. Plus I am a bit surprised that people who were standing behind didn't take couple of other spare seats even if they did pay for standing - I wouldn't mind that at all as a higher payer!

alltheworld Sun 29-Nov-15 23:47:59

I had a standing spot for a sold out show when I was seven months pregnant. Stood through the first act. After interval sat in seat that was empty and woman next to me made a comment. I don't see a problem with it.

GruntledOne Sun 29-Nov-15 23:51:25

Slightly off the point, but you can't assume because a seat is empty when the door closes that no-one will be using it. People regularly arrive up to half an hour after shows start, or even later.

harrasseddotcom Sun 29-Nov-15 23:52:20

dont see a problem per se. But if that owner of that seat shows up 5 mins later I'd assume you'd move back to your rightful seat. Unlike the people who were sitting in our front row seats. Who insisted that we had got the wrong seats. Even when we showed them our tickets. Who then suggested we go sit in their seats further back!

cruikshank Sun 29-Nov-15 23:53:04

I don't see a problem with it either, but then I've lived in countries where everyone makes a beeline for better empty seats at the interval, puts their coats on them and then goes for their fag and a glass of wine. I suppose it's less common in the UK but it really wouldn't worry me if someone did it - that empty seat is no use to me.

noclueses Mon 30-Nov-15 00:20:44

thanks all.
NO Of course I would give it up if someone turned up late - in the West end they don't allow anyone after the door is closed though.
harrassed - I'm shocked at that! I bet wasn't in London as you would always have an attendant and people would start such 'disputes'/lies! I hope they did move.
Yeah, I just don't get it - even for a pg woman someone makes a comment! And as I say, in my case I had a seat in same category, juts don't like such heights/being a sardine, and the new seat was evn more restricted. But it sounds like some places have it as the taboo, and some don't.
I thought it was very strange him ranting without even a hint of humour and as if he is talking in general but staring at me, ugh! I then thought I should have shown my ticket of 25 quid but that would be childish maybe.

noclueses Mon 30-Nov-15 00:22:32

would NOt start, i mean

harrasseddotcom Mon 30-Nov-15 00:23:15

no im in Scotland and there was a largish group of us. We pretty much had a mexican standoff as we stood in the aisle waiting on them moving. Which they only did after a steward came and insisted on seeing tickets. Their seats were in the row behind and they had the hard neck to complain, i assume for our benefit, throughout the performance about how they had to move.

manicinsomniac Mon 30-Nov-15 00:27:22

In my local theatre the cheapest seats are £10-£12 (for proper touring shows, it's an ATG theatre).

We love the theatre and, in order to be able to go as much as possible) I often book several shows months ahead for unpopular week nights in the school holidays. The chances are that the upper circle is pretty empty and, once the lights go down, we slide forward into much better seats and get a great view for £12ish! I'm aware that it's not an okay thing to do and I sometimes feel that I have cheated the arts out of money but then those seats are unsold and empty so I'm not really doing anyone any harm. Perhaps not the best lesson to teach my children though!

If the show is very popular and quite heavily booked, even in the upper circle, we stay in our cheap seats. They're still okay seats, just a long way back and some have a slightly restricted, but not terrible, view.

If for some reason we are unable to go on the night we haven't lost too much money.

So win-win in an a-moral kind of way!!

Stillunexpected Mon 30-Nov-15 00:27:39

It's not correct that latecomers aren't admitted in the West End after the show starts. It depends on the individual production. If latecomers are not going to be admitted, they usually make it very clear at booking time but I have often seen people arrive a few minutes late, or a number may be ushered in together at a specific point for latecomers dictated by the production company.

noclueses Mon 30-Nov-15 00:57:54

well maybe, Still, but in this case they started 5min late and there were latecomers within that, but once the door was closed, that's it, and no one did come in. As I say, if they did, I'd have moved of course. Sometimes I've seen people being let in but only allowed to stand by the door - they wouldn't allow latecomers to disrupt the rows of people who would need to stand up in those old theatre with no leg room.

manic. so if the show is heavily booked you wouldn't move even if you did see a better seat available? I suppose with your systen of booking it's not often that you need to put up with worst seats so you are happy to 'suffer' sometimes, haha!

harrassed, that's jst weird, maybe they were drunk!

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