In an effort to fight back against the competing demands on our leisure time, AWET, the Association of West End Theatres has announced the introduction of remote controls for audience members.
“From September 2011, historic venues like the Palladium and the Savoy Theatre will be fully equipped to compete with the telly” said Jen Goldsworthy, Vice-President of AWET.
“It is an undeniable fact that audiences are aging, and rather than try to reverse this trend we’ve realised we really have to meet it head-on. Older people like to be able to turn the sound up, or pause things while they pop out to make a cup of tea and talk about their sciatica with the nice man next door.”
Further innovations, including automatic blanketing and pillows, as well as a built-in sweet-wrapper sound-diffuser are also in the pipeline.
Actors’ unions oppose the move however. “Our members need to know when they might realistically get home,” said Equity Darren Clarke. “During one of the trials, 70% of the audience popped out to the loo ten minutes after the curtain went up, leaving the performance on standby for 4 hours while they remembered they had to get a pint of milk and some potatoes from Costcutter.”