Taking Your Camera to the Theatre
If you do not go to the theatre very often but are planning on seeing a show in the near future, then you may be wondering about whether or not to take your camera with you to take a couple of photographs for memories. If you have been out for the day taking pictures and then you make your way straight to the theatre with your camera with you, or if you just happen to have your camera in your bag at the theatre, then of course, that is fine as staff do not usually check bags beforehand, but if you are bringing your camera with you to purposely take photographs inside the theatre, then some problems may arise.
Usually, staff do not mind at all if you take photographs of the bar areas, the beautiful décor that most of the older London Theatre’s behold, or of the box office and foyer. However, once you enter the auditorium, then the policy may change. As soon as the curtain is up and the performers are on stage, then of course, during any show in any theatre in London, you are not permitted to take photographs. Not only will flash photography aggravate performers and audience members alike, but there are also copyright issues. The same goes for taking videos during a performance. However, before the show starts, most theatres will allow you to take photographs of your surroundings – of the seating areas, the view from your seat and the stage with the curtain down.
I have personally had no trouble with capturing images inside numerous London theatre’s including inside the auditorium before a show starts, except at the Playhouse Theatre, where jukebox musical Dreamboats and Petticoats is currently showing. Myself and another audience member a few rows ahead were told to put our cameras away when we got them out inside the auditorium, before the show had begun. Therefore, the rules do differ throughout various theatres, and so it is best just to use common sense when taking photographs at the theatre.
Overall, if you have your camera with you and wish to take photographs on a visit to see a show at a West End theatre, you should have no trouble at all. Just ensure that you do not decide to start snapping away during a performance as you may get your camera confiscated, or you may even be asked to leave the premises. For the rest of you who wouldn’t dream of doing so, happy snapping!