Although living for 8 months in this country and having gained quite some insights into the British culture, there are still some new aspects we discover and which give us reason for having second parts of certain blog posts. In this case, we’d like to continue the British Theatre Habits.
As part of our cultural adventures in London, visiting the Proms was one item on our bucket list. The BBC Proms is a series of (mostly) classical music concerts in the time of July until September with concerts every day. Special about the Proms is that it aims to make world class music available to everyone. Therefore, the arena of the Royal Albert Hall is not fitted with chairs as usually but provides a standing area, similarly as the galery does. There are 1,500 standing places in total. Tickets for the standing areas can be purchased in two different ways. You can either buy a seasonal ticket for a weekend, half of the season or the full season. Or you can buy tickets on the day of the concert. The BBC does always reserve a certain number of tickets to be sold on the evening ticket office. A ticket in the standing area is only £6 and there is no dress code but a come as you are policy. Thus, if you are in London at this time just go to the Royal Albert Hall and get some tickets.
In addition to world class music, you may also be lucky enough to watch some – for German standards highly irritating – British Theatre habits.
- If you have a weekend pass for the Proms, you have to arrive at least half an hour before the start of the concert (as the not used capacity of seasonal ticket holders is then made available for others). Half an hour gives you plenty of time to have your dinner in the arena, a very nice spot though. People are therefore taking sushi, Thai food, sandwhiches, etc. into the Royal Albert Hall sitting on the floor and having a picknick. Some bring wine as well. A bag of crisps might be a nice dessert. And it seems to be totally accepted. Nobody looks irritated except Hanna and me. We probably never get used to this habit.
- Another thing we were lucky to observe was the behaviour of what we thought was a school class. Sitting on the floor during the concert is not a big issue as we have already seen a person fainting. However, the use of your mobile might give other people the impression of a certain degree of lack of interest in what’s happening on the stage. This might also irritate other people. Crafting little birds at napkins does not give a different impression either. But really unacceptable is eating crisps during the concert. Even if you get the “crunch” from your teeth crushing the crisps under control, getting the crisps out of the bag is always associated with a disturbing noise. Dear teachers, please don’t force your pupils into such concerts. These definitely didn’t enjoy it.
- Another habit is rushing out of the venue just in the moment after the last tone. Some people don’t want to show their respect for the artists on stage by applausing but rather rushing to the next possible tube. That are not the fine english manners, England is so known for.
- Finally, there are tourists. Tourists who buy drinks in the intervall but are not able to finish them. When continue drinking during the concert, the ice cubes crackle each time they sip. However, I just told Hanna to stop it and it was okay 😜.
It is definitely worth visiting the Proms. If something disturbs you, just keep calm and carry on listening…