News, Culture & Society

Theatre staff are wearing body cameras

What drama! Theatre staff are wearing body cameras to record unruly audience members in a trial to see if the devices calm down angry patrons

  • Theatre staff are now wearing body cameras due to fear of rowdy theatregoers
  • Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre are on a trial giving ushers cameras 
  • The cameras have a front-facing screen which shows recorded footage as it happens – forcing belligerent theatre-goers to view their own behaviour 

For most of us, a night at theatre would qualify as one of the more genteel evenings out.

Times, however, seem to have changed. Theatre staff are now wearing body cameras because of the fear of trouble from unruly theatre-goers.

Such is the threat of a night at the opera turning into a fight at the opera that the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre are working with security firm Calla on a trial giving ushers the devices.

Such is the threat of a night at the opera turning into a fight at the opera that the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre are working with security firm Calla on a trial giving ushers the devices (pictured: A Calla bodycam)

The cameras have a front-facing screen which shows recorded footage as it happens – forcing belligerent theatre-goers to view their own behaviour. According to theatre news website The Stage, the cameras have proved useful for the occasions when the drama moved off the stage and into the audience.

It reported that most culprits backed down when they saw themselves being recorded.

The cameras have a front-facing screen which shows recorded footage as it happens ¿ forcing belligerent theatre-goers to view their own behaviour

The cameras have a front-facing screen which shows recorded footage as it happens – forcing belligerent theatre-goers to view their own behaviour

Phill Brown, SOLT’s head of risk and safety, said: ‘When you mix alcohol with the theatre environment that can exacerbate situations and we want to try to manage that before it becomes a major problem in our industry.’

Last year, a fight broke out in the audience at a performance of Julie at the National Theatre and in 2017 an altercation between theatregoers over using phones was reported at the Old Vic.

A row between audience members at the Royal Opera House also became public after the dispute ended up in court. Mr Brown revealed some front-of-house staff refuse to work on certain shows on Friday or Saturday nights because of the high risk of aggressive audiences. But one three-month trial of the cameras at a West End theatre brought ‘very positive’ feedback from staff, especially from its duty manager and security guards, he said.

The individual theatres that have fitted ushers with cameras have not been named.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk