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Nimax Theatres introduces ‘scrunch test’ to combat noisy snacks

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West End theatre operator Nimax has begun testing how noisy the food it sells to audiences is, in a bid to quell complaints around loud snacks.

It has also stopped selling certain products because the packaging is too noisy, Nimax chief executive Nica Burns has said.

It comes amid an ongoing debate about theatre etiquette, with West End production Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? banning audiences from eating food during performances earlier this year.

Nimax, which owns six West End venues including the Lyric, the Apollo and the Garrick, now undertakes a “scrunch test” for packaging to determine whether it is too distracting.

Burns told the Times: “Packaging can be very different from one brand to another. You have sweets that can be opened very quietly with not a lot of rustling.”

She added the situation was complicated because many theatres are able to boost income from sales of food and drink.

Fellow theatre operators Ambassador Theatre Group and HQ – part of Qdos Entertainment – already run in-seat ordering services for food and drink at their venues.