Should theatre-goers be allowed to sing along at musicals?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
April 26, 2023, 8:28 AM GMT+0

The public says no, but the most avid musicals fans say yes

Theatre etiquette became a brief topic of national discussion earlier in the month following news that a Manchester showing of The Bodyguard had to be cut short after police had to remove audience members who turned violent when asked to stop singing along.

TV presenter Alison Hammond was forced to apologise after appearing to encourage audience members to sing along against the wishes of theatres and performers. The backlash her remarks faced seems representative of the public view, as a YouGov daily poll conducted at the time found that 56% of Britons say that for musicals where singing along is not already explicitly encouraged, people attending should not be allowed to sing along.

Three in ten (28%) take the view that theatre-goers should be allowed to sing along, while 16% are unsure.

However, according to further analysis made possible by YouGov Profiles data, opinion is reversed among the biggest musicals fans. Almost six in ten of those Britons who attend a musical once every 2-3 months or more frequently (58%) say that audience members should be allowed to sing along, with only 36% disagreeing.

Approximately 5% of Britons say they go to the theatre to watch a musical or pantomime with this level of frequency. A further 8% go two or three times a year, while 15% go once a year and 29% less often than this (43% say never).

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