Editorial-The Stage Door: What’s A Girl To Do?

It’s always a tense moment, leaving the theatre and passing the stage door. You’ve seen something not just great, but something brilliant, something sublime and incredibly affecting, and you want to direct those feelings towards those deserving of them; the cast who evoked them in the first place. Countless times I’ve wanted to stop and wait to greet the cast after a great performance, to tell them with actual words what my clapping in the auditorium stood for. Countless times I’ve hesitated with a friend, we’ve hurriedly discussed it and then wandered away. Once we even waited for ten awkward, clueless minutes, then realised that we had no idea about whether actors tend to make an appearance after matinees as well as evenings, or indeed, how long it generally takes for a de-costumed, civilian-once-more person to make their way out of the theatre. So I’ve never actually braved the stage door and I’ve never met a single stage hero of mine…

There’s a self-consciousness about that wait which can’t be denied. What exactly do we say to the talented bunch emerging when they’re likely just searching for the Lucozade drip before round two of the evening performance? What are the etiquette rules for said greetings? Is it not all a little cheeky, asking for even more from the cast when they’ve clearly just given their all already? I see crowds clamouring for selfies when I pass other theatres on the way home, but do they say anything? How do the actors feel about it all? I’m not entirely convinced that it’s a pleasure for them after eight shows each week- they deserve to make a speedy exit if they so wish, surely! I do wonder if there are some sort of agreed times, days and expectations on both sides that I’m simply unaware of?

On the flip side, West End actors (and all actors, for that matter) work damn hard. They work anti-social hours and they deserve kind words for each of those things, in addition to their performance on stage. So what if everyone thought like me? What if the hard-working, talented folk heading home for the night after a gruelling few hours would like to hear a few words of appreciation for their efforts, and folks like me were too shy to stay and say them? I hear tales of some actors being grizzly, but how much is to be believed? I’m certain that I don’t want to be the one to irk the actor I’m trying to praise! Perhaps what I need is a seasoned stage door veteran to tell a girl what to do, or perhaps waiting at the stage door simply isn’t for indecisive folks like me!

So I remain torn. I want to say wonderful things, so I do so in my tweets or reviews, tagging them on Twitter in the off chance that they might see it as they scroll through on the tube ride home. But I’m a little fish in a very big pond, so the well-deserved praise in my reviews more often than not goes unseen by the actors themselves, which is a shame. Just once though, I’d like to be resolute enough to stand, wait and deliver my thanks in person. Maybe one day…


Note: This post was originally published by OnStageBlog (http://www.onstageblog.com/columns/2016/11/30/the-stage-door-whats-a-girl-to-do?platform=hootsuit).

4 thoughts on “Editorial-The Stage Door: What’s A Girl To Do?

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  1. You should really wait and meet people, have your programme signed and tell them what you enjoyed about the show.

    I’ve done it quite a few times over the years and met some incredible people! As well as world famous actors who have mostly been lovely (check out my stage door posts on my blog).

    I’m really shy as well but have got better with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds great! I think perhaps it’s a case of just taking the plunge when next I see something wonderful… How did your trips play out? Did you have a chat? What was the reception from the actors like? No awkward moments with over-excited super fans (I’ve seen a fair few high pitched videos from Stage Door greets…) ?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been mainly very good. A lot of the time hasn’t been too many people at the stage door. For Mark Rylance was only 3 people, was totally shocked with that! Bradley Cooper was the craziest experience with hundreds of people and it having hoardings all around the side, plus I failed at getting him in the photo!

        Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart was mad in a different way as I met them in Newcastle and everyone queued down the street and they just worked their way along it!

        They often ask if you enjoyed the play/show and are more than happy to answer questions. Some don’t do photos, so its always best to just ask politely if your unsure beforehand!

        I’ve also done it a few times at the touring shows away from the West End and find that not many people wait at all to see the performers come out.

        I was thinking of doing a blog post on advice for the Stage Door and meeting the actors, as I’ve often searched for advice.


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