Why isn’t the West End wising up to social?

I managed to catch a show this weekend. If naive but ultimately disillusioned missionaries travelling to Africa to fabricate gospel in order to rescue a village from a tribal warlord intent on performing female circumcision says “break out the jazz hands” then you need to see The Book of Mormon. Although it’s not the obvious conclusion I would’ve drawn, I highly recommend the show – but that’s not what this post is about.

During the course of the performance, we were subject to the now-traditional warnings about recording devices being banned. I appreciate that shows don’t want content (music, lyrics, sets, costumes, premise) being recorded in their entirety – that makes sense. But equally, surely shows want the “network effect” of friends recommending the show on social channels?

My suggestion is to include a “photo op” as part of the curtain call. Invite people to snap a quick picture when the whole cast is on the stage bowing and waving. With the amount of media done around big shows these days, I can’t imagine that a few shots during final bows will allow people to copy anything the widely available publicity doesn’t detail in higher quality anyway.

Doing this will allow people to share their experience across their networks, driving traffic and interest. It also allows people to create their own little memory to take home (remember when photos were not for immediate sharing?) which deepens the connection with the show and, I suspect, increases the likelihood of a repeat visit.

So West End (and other theatres)… why not?

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