“It’s behind you” is the customary cry from the audience during panto season. But the actor and comedian Jason Manford has called on theatregoers to also look beneath them – and to clean up their litter at the end of the show.
After his performance in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Opera House in Manchester, Manford filmed himself walking through the theatre’s stalls, pointing out spilt popcorn, crisp packets and drink containers left on the floor. “Look at the bloody tip people leave,” he said in the video, shared on X/Twitter with the message “What’s your take on litter inside a theatre? Is it audience or staff’s responsibility? What dya reckon?”
— Jason Manford (@JasonManford) December 3, 2023
As he filmed the debris, Manford said: “Why do people do this? Every single row … shocking isn’t it? Unbelievable. You wouldn’t treat your own home like that would you?”
Manford said he always tidied up after himself at the cinema, and added that it was probably because he used to work in front of house. Dancer Robin Windsor was among those who replied to Manford. “No respect for the beautiful theatres,” he commented.
Manford, who lives in Greater Manchester, is playing Jack in the musical whose cast includes Ben Nickless, Myra DuBois, Samara Casteallo and Emma Williams. He made his panto debut last year at the Manchester Opera House in The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan.
Earlier this year, a survey by the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union of more than 1,500 theatre staff found that almost half had considered leaving the industry due to poor audience behaviour. More than half of respondents had witnessed visitors damaging the venue “in acts of vandalism or as a result of intoxication”.