What to eat in West End theatres

Check out our guide on eating in the theatre in a way that doesn’t affect any theatregoers around you.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

To eat, or not to eat? That is the question. The debate about eating in the theatre is two-sided. In recent years, actors have spoke out against eating during a performance, saying that hearing people chew food while you’re on stage can be distracting.

But, what about if you need to eat certain foods at certain times? Or you want to snack on sweets or popcorn while in your seat at the theatre?

Check out our guide on eating in the theatre in a way that doesn’t affect any theatregoers around you.

Eating in the theatre

There are no specific rules on whether you can eat in a theatre auditorium. Instead, we’re providing guidance and advice in case you do want to eat.

Should I eat at the theatre?

Eating noisy or pungent foods can affect others around you, as their experience of a show is impacted by what you are eating. As well as this, it can also be considered rude to open packets and wrappers during a show as it may negatively affect the theatrical atmosphere.

Tucking into your theatre snacks may seem harmless, but the rustling of crisp packets and the strong smell of herbs and spices could be considered as highly offensive to those on stage.

Before going to see a show, we recommend checking the venue’s policies to see whether you are allowed to bring food and drink into the auditorium.

What types of food are best to eat in the theatre?

If you need to eat, it’s best to chew on softer food like marshmallows and jelly sweets. Or how about purchasing an ice cream during the interval? These sweet treats are delicious and won’t detract attention away from the stage.

Foods without a strong odour are also a great choice for the theatre too. You don’t want the smell of your food to impact the viewing experience for those around you.

What types of food should I avoid at the theatre?

Avoid loud foods such as crisps, popcorn and hard boiled sweets that have yet to be unwrapped. While they may be your favourite food, they can be loud and spill onto the floor, which could annoy patrons around you.

Try to avoid pungent foods in the theatre, such as curries, fried foods or pastries. You don’t want people to watch you eating rather than watching the action unfold on stage, or leave lots of crumbs all over your seat.

What should I bring food in?

If you’re bringing food to the theatre, you can carry it in its original packing, or a Tupperware box. We recommend packing food into a box, so once you’ve taken the lid off, you won’t be rustling through packets, resulting in a quieter food experience for all.

Can I bring in food from restaurants near the theatre?

No. You won’t be permitted into a theatre auditorium with hot food from restaurants near theatres. You can bring in food from local supermarkets or food that you’ve pre-packed from home.

If you do bring food in a bag to the theatre, instead of purchasing at the venue, avoid smelly foods. Instead, opt for discreet choices which you can enjoy from the comfort of your seat without disturbing others next to you.

Where can I eat near West End theatres?

There are thousands of restaurants that you can eat at in London which are close to theatres. Whatever time of day you want to eat at a restaurant, there’s guaranteed to be an eaterie open nearby. We can even recommend some of our favourite London pubs and bars to visit too.

Originally published on

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