One of the things I love most about working in the arts is the privilege of being in a completely empty theatre. I don’t believe in ghosts, I don’t believe in the supernatural, and it’s probably all in my head, but there’s some sort of indescribable energy in an empty theatre.
Back in my ushering days I cherished the quiet pause before the house was open. I also loved the time spent tidying up after the audience was gone, especially if the show moved me.
I’ve never experienced this as an audience member, though. The only way to experience this as an audience member is to show up at the theatre very early. I’m not a fan of arriving early to the theatre. I don’t like waiting. And I don’t enjoy the up and down ballet of letting people through to their seats. Do you stand up? Is it acceptable to shift your knees to the side?
Here’s a piece from the Guardian about an audience member who loves arriving early to enjoy the empty space.