Best pre-show short film Award – make your #cumberphone video message now!


The idea of having short, humorous, educational and irreverent films and performances before all shows is a key plank of the Cumberphone Campaign – so if you’re in a show or part of a company and want to make a video…

We are delighted to announce the launch of the 2015 inaugural Cumberphone Campaign Annual Awards – “The Cumbies” – get nominating today! – and click here to view all the award categories for “The Cumbies”…

We’d like to get the ball rolling now by enlisting all of you wonderful theatricals reading this to perform a line, scene or song from your show (or a rival show perhaps) – with words suitably adjusted for the phone-addicted audience – post it online – on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook using #cumberphone – then nominate your fellow professionals to do the same.

It’s like the ice-bucket challenge, crossed with #15secondshakespeare – but less cold!

Avenue Q released this perfect #Cumberphone video on 1st Off-tober 2015!

These are just the kind of videos we’d like to see all shows make and send out via email and text to audiences ahead of attending a show, to help encourage them not to use their phones during the performance – because brief (often faceless) pre-curtain announcements don’t seem to be doing the trick at the moment, do they?

For further inspiration, check out these brilliant pre-screening shorts from the Alamo Drafthouse cinema chain in the U.S. – Hollywood’s finest doing doing their bit for the cause. We think the Michael Madsen Reservoir Dogs one is a peach!

If all those wonderful performers are willing to strip naked for the good cause that is West End Bares, then surely we can pull this off too. It’s like the ice-bucket challenge, crossed with #15secondshakespeare – but less cold!

  • Let’s, Turn, The Phones, Off, Agaaaaaaain – Rocky Horror
  • On My Phone, Pretending He’s Re-Tweeting Me – Les Miserables
  • Good Girrrrrls, Dooooon’t Text – Jersey Boys
  • The Phones Are On In SaigonMiss Saigon
  • Turn It Off. Like a Light-Switch, Just Go Click – Book of Mormon (too easy)
  • If You Were Gay, That’d Be Okay (so long as you didn’t use your phone in the theatre) – Avenue Q
  • We Are The Knights Who Say Niiiii (Phones)! – Spamalot

Let’s make it happen!

We’ll also be compiling a playlist on our CumberTube channel – they can be rough and ready, they can be mere Vines or Snapchat rants, or they can be a Kenneth Branagh Disney extravaganza. Just a few fun ones to get the ball rolling, so that the power-players can see that there’s an appetite for filming proper glossy ones to screen before shows in the near future…

Our Theatreland Mobiles Manifesto will be launching in October – so hopefully we’ll have lots of nominations in before then…


We also aim is to enlist at least one Cumberphone Ambassador in each of our great shows in the West End and around the UK. It should be as normal as knowing who your Equity rep is 😉

It won’t involve any onerous duties, just being a point-of-contact, our go-to-guy, our secret sleeper-agent, for when new things happen in the campaign.

We know you’re out there – you may be feeling our tap on your shoulder any day now…

Here’s just a few of the very many examples of recent exasperation from Theatreland’s brightest and best:

Eva Noblezada, Kim, Miss Saigon“I’m sorry, but to sit idly in your seat looking at your BRIGHT screen for minutes is just…really?”  (@EvaNoblezada) – 29th August 2015

Ethan Le Phong, Miss Saigon“We have now routinely been spotting people filming our shows. STOP! It’s RUDE! It’s not a concert! We can see the f*cking red light assh*le!” (@EthanLePhong) – 2nd October 2015

Carrie Hope Fletcher, Eponine, Les Miserables“To the absolute A*SE in the upper circle with your red recording light on… YOU, yes YOU, single-handedly, were putting me off… it’s hugely disrespectful to those on stage and those around you…When it’s a concert it’s sort of the norm… Theatres are a very different atmosphere. You’re told in an announcement right before the curtain goes up and there are signs in the theatre.” (@CarrieHFletcher) –  25th August 2015

John Boydon & Sandy Moffat, Jersey Boys“Never known an audience like this! A girl on her phone all of Act 1” (@Sandy_Moffat) – “I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many phones lit up in an auditorium as tonight… Despite the FOH staff trying their best to stop it. Ridiculous, rude and disheartening.” (@JonBoydon) – 4th September 2015

So come join our Ambassadors Reception… Let’s see if we can make it fun!

Twitter: @cumberphone #cumberphone – tweet, DM or email us if you’d like to help make this happen.

Facebook –

We want anyone and everyone to get involved in whatever way they can. Be you a part-time usher, or a full-time Dame, from the back row of the Upper Circle to the back row of the ensemble, it’s come one come all, and all shoulders to the wheel here at the Cumberphone Campaign.

You can do whatever, and you’re in the Treehouse – there’s no secret knock. You can follow us on Twitteradd a twibbon to your profile, become a Show Ambassador, recruit your friends and colleagues, (recruit your triple-threat enemies too), make a Video or Vine, and most importantly help spread the word.

You can read our Mobiles Manifesto, learn a little more about who we are on our Home page

You can also get your “Twibbons” (a mini cumberphone logo to add to the corner of your Twitter profile to help spread the word) here –

The Cumberphone Campaign is not an organisation – it is an idea.