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Imelda Staunton: ‘Ban food in theatres’

Imelda Staunton. Photo: Helga Esteb/ Shutterstock
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Imelda Staunton has called for a ban on eating in theatres, suggesting food is preventing people from concentrating on shows.

Her comments come months after producer Richard Jordan was embroiled in controversy after he complained in The Stage about audience members eating chicken nuggets at a performance of Doctor Faustus in the West End.

Staunton was speaking to The Radio Times, which asked whether eating should be outlawed in theatres. She responded: “Definitely.”

She added: “I don’t know why people can’t engage in just one thing. I don’t understand this obsession with having to eat or drink something at every moment of the day.”

Staunton admitted that she does not eat in front of the television at home.

“There might, at one point in the evening, be a very small, very naughty bowl of ice cream. But that’s not noisy,” she said.

Earlier this year actor Kit Harrington hit out at Jordan for criticising “noisy” audience members at a production of Doctor Faustus.

Jordan had claimed one couple was eating Chicken McNuggets from McDonalds with a large side of fries, and said it was “possibly the worst West End audience” he had ever encountered.

In The Radio Times interview, Staunton went on to criticise American television for being overstuffed with different shows, saying: “I’m not sure that so much choice is necessarily a good thing.”

She went on: “I don’t want American television here. It’s channel after channel after channel, and that dilutes things. It’s like going to a big supermarket and being overwhelmed by the choice of biscuits.”

The actor then suggested that UK television was starting to suffer from a similar glut of choice.

“When Downton Abbey was on, people were talking about it. People talked about Sherlock and I was really annoyed I hadn’t watched it. But now, that unifying thing of people all talking about one piece of television is disappearing,” she said.