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Going to the theatre alone

Top five tips for going to the theatre on your own

Will Longman
Will Longman

Going to the theatre is predominantly considered a social act. Whether it's a fun first date, family outing or just seeing the latest opening with friends, most theatregoers first question when booking a show is usually: "Who shall I go with?"

Well, there's really no need to fret. Going to the theatre alone can be a wonderful, stress-free experience, and could enable you to see a lot more shows if your friends aren't free. Plus, studies have also shown that engaging in activities like going to the theatre alone can, in fact, be healthy for you.

So if you're worried about seeing a show solo, here are some top tips on how to get the most out of your trip.

Tips for going to the theatre alone

 

Go for a meal beforehand

Fully immerse yourself into the self-date experience. Pick your favourite restaurant, eat a delicious meal and take some time to relax after a busy day and ready yourself for the show. Maybe do some reading about the production - there will be plenty of features and interviews about West End shows online - to give you some insight and context into the show.  

Buy a programme

Before watching a show, it can be important to have some clarity on the piece. While talking over what you're expecting is a fun exercise in speculation, picking up a programme will provide you with much more insight. Not only do these little booklets of knowledge provide you with nuggets about from the cast or director, but they will also contain commissioned pieces from writers to help give you context about the show, whether that's a piece about the era, or about the history of the show itself. At many shows, you can also pick up a play-text or script, which can be handy to refer back to after the event.

Eavesdrop on people around you (politely)

People within the same social circles will often have a similar mindset or outlook when watching a piece of theatre, which is a natural phenomenon. Going to the theatre alone gives you an opportunity to hear what other people think, offering you a point of view you might have never considered. Whether you head into the bar during the interval, or listen to those having a chat around you, it could expand your thinking about a particular work and present you with new opinions you might have never considered. 

Take in your surroundings

While arriving at your seat early can give you a chance to study an uninhabited set, West End theatres themselves are beautiful. While the design of a show can be top-notch, the actual buildings these stages are inside are stunning. The oldest, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, was built over 200 years ago in 1812 and is a Grade I Listed building, designed by architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt. They're full of gorgeous interiors and chandeliers, and often showcase artwork from the theatre's history. Have a stroll around if you arrive early, or do a short walk-around the theatre during the interval. You won't regret it.

Try a Sunday or a matinee performance

Research shows that one of our biggest issues with spending time alone is that we might be subconsciously judged by people who see us out in public (though this is true for 'hedonic' activities - you probably don't feel uncomfortable shopping for groceries alone). Catching a performance at an off-peak time may help ease you into the experience.

Image: Montclair Film (flickr) Used under Creative Commons License 2.0

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