More shows allow photo-taking during curtain call

More shows allow photo-taking during curtain call
Organisers encouraged photo-taking during the curtain call for rollerskate rock musical Starlight Express (above) at Marina Bay Sands and the play Gruesome Playground Injuries at Esplanade Theatre Studio.

Theatre audiences are used to that pre-performance announcement banning all recording and photography.

But more shows are now inviting audiences to snap to their hearts' content after a performance.

When Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express rolled into Marina Bay Sands earlier this month, organisers allowed the audience to take as many pictures as they liked during curtain call.

This is not the first time Marina Bay Sands has encouraged photo-taking during the curtain call.

A Marina Bay Sands spokesman says that while they do not allow photography during the show, they have been using the curtain call opportunity to increase branding for select shows.

"The photo-ops are decided in consultation with artists and productions. In the past, we have allowed this for shows such as The Bootleg Beatles and The Phantom Unmasked as well as children's shows presented by Disney and Hi-5," he said.

At Singapore's key performing arts centre, the Esplanade, guidelines on photography during shows are made in consultation with artists and hirers.

Says Mr Ravi Sivalingam, 45, director of operations at the Esplanade: "We realise that the proliferation of social media and the branding opportunities that come with it presents certain upsides to allowing photography in shows.

"However, our first priority is always to preserve the experience for artists and the audience. We have found that most of our patrons agree with and are understanding towards our position on photography during performances."

Theatre groups, it seems, are cottoning on to the social media possibilities of Instagram and mobile phone photography.

While concerts have given up banning photography during gigs, near impossible to enforce in this age of camera-equipped mobile phones, photography during curtain calls is a relatively new practice for theatre.

Pangdemonium Productions, for instance, recently allowed photo-taking during the curtain call of Gruesome Playground Injuries at the Esplanade Theatre Studio earlier this month.

The post-show announcement said it was so that audiences could share the photos on social media platforms such as Facebook.

Actor and co-founder Adrian Pang of Pangdemonium Productions told Life! it has allowed photos only during the curtain call.

"During the show, it is an absolute no-no. We severely frown upon people who post on Facebook, text or tweet during shows. It is very anti-social and distracting for the actors and fellow audience members," said Pang, 47.

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