Londons wild West End theatres plagued by vomit, fights and used condoms

West End theatres have provided the setting for a spiral in behaviour that includes people projectile vomiting in their seats, used condoms being left in bathrooms and female staff even being punched by male customers.

That's according to theatre workers who told Sky News that the behaviour is especially bad during shows whose tickets are marketed to stag and hen dos, advertising "a raucous night out".

One worker, choosing to remain anonymous in the interest of job safety, said that his position had become intolerable after the COVID pandemic and that behaviour is spiralling out of control and sometimes into violence.

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"I had a friend who is barely 5ft 2in punched in the face by a man who was 6ft 9in. She's in her 20s," he told the title.

He added that he himself had been assaulted by a bloke who called him a "f****** w*****" when he asked the latecomer to wait for an appropriate time to enter the auditorium.

The worker said the man was ejected and forced to apologised before he was allowed back in to watch the show.

"He was allowed to watch the show. I've just been assaulted and I'm shaken but that's a common experience in the West End," he recounted.

But if it is not violence, it is something else. The worker said that they ask people to leave shows at a rate of at least once a week.

Theatre union BECTU recently surveyed its members about the spiral in behaviour and some 90% of the 15,000 who responded said they regularly witnessed bad behaviour and half added that they were thinking about quitting as a result.

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"People being threatened with violence, people being told somebody would be waiting for them outside of the theatre at the end of the night… the results were really shocking," Head of BECTU, Philippa Childs, said.

She added that her organisation had lobbied theatres to take action "to make sure their staff are protected." The aforementioned worker said that management at some venues are putting "profit over safety".

Among other incidents shared with Sky, they heard accounts of drunk audience members projectile vomiting in the auditorium and even used condoms littering bathroom stalls.

It comes after news that detectives are probing a fight which reportedly broke out during a performance of Hamilton at Manchester's Palace Theatre on November 24.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed it was called to the theatre following reports circling online of a fight amongst the audience towards the end of the show.

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A post online describing the altercation said: "Well done to the cast for not letting it distract them. The poor staff were desperately trying to keep them apart."

Earlier in November, a performance of I Should Be So Lucky was halted at the Opera House before a man was escorted out, while in April a performance of The Bodyguard saw two women dragged out after refusing to stop singing.

Robin Hawkes, theatre director at both the Palace Theatre and Opera House, told the MEN in June that incidents like the one seen in April are 'plain and simple anti-social behaviour that wouldn't be acceptable anywhere', caused by a 'tiny minority of individuals'.

He added: "I think this is an issue not just in Manchester but theatres around the country have been trying to tackle for a while now."

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