When it comes to theatre we all have our #StageFaves. We follow them on Instagram, Facebook and even send them a cheeky tweet now and then, but where is the line between fan appreciation and harassment? Becky Mary from the Musical Theatre Appreciation Society shares her thoughts...
A lot of people ‘do stage door’ at shows. I know this because I do it a lot (I mean, I do like a good chat and picture) but are the actors obliged to do this? The simple answer is no.
Actors and actresses are normal people like you and me and many are flattered when fans go and say hello - it is nice to see you are making someone’s day or even inspiring someone to get into theatre - but it's not something they have to do, they can choose to go out a different entrance or not stop because they have families at home and possibly an early show the next day. When you buy a ticket, unless specified that it is a meet and greet you are only paying to see the show and whatever happens at stage door is a bonus.
The day I wrote this post, and ultimately what inspired me to write it, I went to see THE ADDAMS FAMILY at the Northampton Derngate theatre. I was saddened to see on the stage door they had to put signs up saying that Carrie Hope Fletcher will not be leaving from this door. I found out from twitter the reason why...
Carrie Hope Fletcher is a massive name within the theatre business being in the West End as part of LES MISERABLES and also most recently CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (UK Tour). She also has a massive following on YouTube as well as being a writer on top of this. It is understandable that she is a role model to younger people and inspires many. What was sad to see was the lengths that people will go to meet their idol. We all are people at the end of the day and I feel saddened that actors that are only doing their job feel like they are almost not safe because of actions of fans. On top of this, while at stage door people still try to get Carrie to come out even when there are clear signs saying she won’t be.
Sadly, Carrie has not just had this once. It has happened before - she even made a YouTube video about it saying how she was staying in her dressing room because of being pulled around and shouted at. This is distressing for anyone - even if they are famous.
Just remember when you’re at stage door, yes you might be disappointed that a certain actor didn’t stop or didn’t come out, but they do appreciate you coming to the show as it is what they live for. However, try not to cross a personal boundary because ultimately, if you were them you wouldn’t like it.
In light of this, here are some of my top tips for stage door etiquette:
1. Wait quietly – there are normally a lot of people there but if an actor stops they will stop for everyone and shouting will more likely make them want to walk away.
2. Personal space – do be aware of personal space, putting your hands through windows, grabbing and pulling is not fair nor acceptable.
3. Be ready – most actors need to run of home so it’s always helpful to have your pen ready and if you want a picture have the camera ready for a picture.
4. Don’t be Disappointed if they don’t stop or come out – If an actor doesn’t come out or stop its normally because they need time to relax or need to go home, be respectful of that, they normally are upset they can’t greet their fans as well.