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Dear West End Producer: ‘What is the correct etiquette for queuing for the toilet during an interval?’

West End Producer West End Producer. Photo: Matt Crockett
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Claiming your sacred toilet space in the interval of a show can be a daunting task for even a practised theatregoer. And it is made even harder if you are female. Ladies’ loos in theatres were not considered when the male architects designed them years ago (resulting in snaking lines of ladies protruding outside theatres every night). But fortunately some theatres are rectifying this – only recently it was announced that the Queen’s Theatre in the West End was having more installed (One Flush More, dear).

Les Mis venue to install more toilets as producers admit audiences miss show due to queues

I wouldn’t say there is an etiquette when queueing for theatre toilets, it’s more ‘every man/woman for himself’. If you dilly-dally and eat ice-cream, then you’re likely to join the back of the pee-queue and miss the beginning of the second half.

The keen audience member will have checked where the toilets are before the show begins. Some do this months beforehand and also ensure their theatre seat is close to a bathroom. I know many people who now consider access to toilets to be just as important as their view of the stage.

So what steps can an average audience member take to ensure they get a relaxing mid-show wee?

1. Run. As soon as the curtain falls or the lights come up – leg it to the loos. Don’t worry about being rude or pushing past dawdling OAPs – get to the loo before anyone else. This results in you enjoying a nice toilet session, with plenty of time afterwards to refill yourself with warm white wine from the bar.

2. Leave the theatre and go to a local pub. This trick has many advantages – you will be able to comfortably use a toilet, but also (and more importantly) purchase alcoholic beverages much more cheaply than inside the theatre.

3. Wait until the end of the interval. Now this one carries its risks. If you think you only need a quick loo break, and can squeeze it out in a minute, then you can wait until the bells for the second half are rung. Invariably by this point the toilets will be empty so you will get them all to yourself (apart from a nervous understudy who has locked themselves in there to hide, dear).

4. Don’t go. Hold it in until the end. A brave strategy that can result in auditorium leakages.

5. Ensure you a have a pre-wee. It is essential you make a visit before the show, even if you don’t feel like it. Make this a top priority.

6. Purchase a costume from the show, put it on in the interval, and confidently walk backstage as if you are in the cast. Then use their bogs.

While we’re at it, here are some musical theatre songs to help you do your business:

Finishing the Crap – Sunday in the Park With George

Satisfied – Hamilton

The Worst Loos in London – Sweeney Todd

(Relax and) Let It Go – Frozen

Poo-Doi – Miss Saigon

Falling Slowly – Once

The Bottom Line – Newsies

Send questions to your dear agony aunt via Twitter @westendproducer

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