Audience behaviour campaign

Mayflower Theatre & MAST Mayflower Studios – audience behaviour camapign

Mayflower Theatre and MAST Mayflower Studios have launched a joint initiative to ensure their hard-working Front of House staff feel safe at work.

Poor audience behaviour is on the rise and theatre staff are on the front line. Our brief centred on raising awareness of these issues with audiences, while being respectful and mindful that often poor behaviour is due to a lack of understanding of the consequences. For example, arriving late to a performance because there is a misconception that, (as with films at the cinema) the start time on the ticket isn’t realistic. Or people getting up to go to the bar during a performance (like they may when seeing a band). Theatre bars are shut while the show is on out of respect for the performers. They open again during the interval. This can lead to disappointment and sometimes, angry outbursts, as well as the added disturbance to audience members having to move or stand up to allow the person to squeeze past.

It’s confusing too, as some productions encourage audience participation – singing along and/or dancing. This expectation is, however, limited to a handful of shows. Most people have paid to see and hear professionals sing or dance, not the audience.

There are other concerns too, such as the general use of mobile phones to film or take pictures of a performance. In theatres, it is illegal to do this. Also arriving tipsy has its consequences, particularly if people aren’t mindful of their behaviour or that of their friends.

Fortunately, the frequency of these kinds of incidents in both venues is infrequent in Southampton, but Mayflower is supporting staff at both venues, with a proactive initiative to protect their wellbeing.

We developed an awareness campaign encouraging kind and respectful audience behaviour, featuring staff from both Mayflower Theatre and MAST Mayflower Studios showing them as real people, with backgrounds, families and interests – not just theatre staff – on the front line.

We have had so much positive feedback with this initiative, from both venue teams. The central message is to enjoy your visit to the theatre but be considerate and kind to the people who are there to help you make the most of your experience.

Mayflower has invited other venues across the country to take part in this campaign to remind audiences that there’s no excuse for abuse.

We have also created campaign badges which are instantly recognisable and worn by all staff.

See the Show. Don’t be the show”

Often people just don’t realise what impact poor behaviour has on others. This campaign will help change that.


December 2023


Mayflower Theatre & MAST Mayflower Studios


Campaign creation: Design, copy, artwork, and art direction for Stu Martin’s location photography.