Friday 2 December 2016

'Benedict Cumberbatch right to scold theatre-goers', says Gate boss Michael Colgan

Published 11/08/2015 | 07:47

Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch
BIG DAY: Barry Egan, model Rosanna Davison and artistic director of the Gate Theatre Michael Colgan
Actors Benedict Cumberbatch (R) and obna Holdbrook-Smith perform in Director Lyndsey Turner's production of Hamlet at the Barbican, in London, August 4, 2015, in this handout picture and released August 8, 2015. REUTERS/Johan Persson/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Benedict Cumberbatch with the cast of Hamlet in rehearsal

Gate Theatre boss Michael Colgan has rallied behind actor Benedict Cumberbatch, saying the Sherlock star was "completely right" to chastise fans for filming him on stage.

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Cumberbatch, who is currently starring in the Barbican Theatre's production of Hamlet, pleaded with fans waiting at the stage door to switch their phones off.

The actor said there was nothing worse than seeing a "big red light" from an audience member's camera while delivering a Shakespearean soliloquy at the London theatre.

"Cumberbatch is completely right," Colgan said. "Taking out a smartphone and filming is outrageous.

Michael Colgan
Michael Colgan
Michael Colgan, Marty Whelan and his daughter Jessica at the opening of Romeo and Juliet at the Gate Theatre. Photo: Sasko Lazarov.

"If you want to watch a film, go to the cinema, not the theatre.

rowdy

"It's upsetting and embarrassing for the actors and disrespectful to your fellow audience members."

Colgan has had to deal with several rowdy audience members in the past.

Michael Colgan and Amy Huberman at the opening of ‘An Enemy of the People’ at the
Gate Theatre
Michael Colgan and Amy Huberman at the opening of ‘An Enemy of the People’ at the Gate Theatre

In 1999, he had to escort an inebriated woman out of a production of A Street Car Named Desire when she began harassing the actors.

The woman implored Blanche Dubois, played by Oscar-winning Fargo actress Frances McDormand, to "glass" Stanley Kowalski (played by Liam Cunningham) in the neck.

The shouting continued until Colgan intervened.

"It was like a mother lifting a car to save her child," he said.

"I don't know where the strength came from, but I picked her up and very politely escorted her outside the theatre."

Colgan hopes the artistic director of the Barbican won't have to act in a similar fashion.

Cumberbatch is joined on stage by two well-known Irish actors. Ciaran Hinds takes on the role of Claudius while Jim Norton, best known for playing Bishop Brennan in Father Ted, plays Polonius.

Herald

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