Welcome to the Cumberphone Campaign.
Brief Announcements and Signs don’t seem to be doing the trick so far, do they?
The Cumberphone Campaign has been launched to finally and properly address the vexing issue of mobile phones in theatres. It’s got to be more than simply “turn it off” or “no photos”, with varying pre-show announcements and haphazard brave ushering. We need a unified approach across Theatreland, and we need it now. If we in Theatre can harness our collective imagination and creativity to the fullest (something we should be pretty good at), combined with tech savvy and marketing nous, then we can hopefully have a dramatic impact.
“But what, if anything, can be done?” we hear you cry!
The Society of London Theatres, Equity and The Stage et al will hopefully get behind the Cumberphone Campaign soon, and we aim to enlist the crucial support of the likes of ATG, Delfont Mackintosh, Really Useful Group, Nimax, STAR and others. And most importantly, all of you – an alliance of theatre lovers and theatre professionals, from actors and ushers to producers and critics, and the all-important theatre-going audience – we must all come together to find a solution. Because we love our phones and we love our theatre – and there’s no reason why we can’t find a way to get them to love each other! 😉
For more info on who we are:
Here’s a couple of things we ought to make clear right from the outset, as we’ll only get one chance to make a first impression:
- We are emphatically not a bunch of huffy Luddite Luvvies – we love our phones, we really do. (You’re most likely reading this on your phone too, right? Well, so long as you’re not doing it during a show, that’s fine by us). We aim to bring together a broad spectrum of theatre-lovers, from the exasperated angry shushers to the laid-back shoulder-shruggers.
- Neither are we a Cumberbatch fan-site (lovely chap though he is), or a parody – although admittedly our very name and our penchant for pre-fixing anything that moves with a “cumber” is perhaps grounds for a raised eyebrow 😉
We will attempt to flesh out our modest proposals further in our Manifesto. But we’re not attempting to get elected to anything – we’re merely hoping to gain your interest and win your support. The Manifesto is a living, breathing document, open to all for fresh ideas and input as the campaign progresses.
And if you miss the good old days when you could simply take your phone battery out, you’ll hopefully be interested in reading more here about our Stealth Phone initiative.
One of the greatest challenges Theatres face is that a great many of us simply don’t want to turn our phones off. Ever. We’re not used to it. We’re not at all comfortable with the concept. We have them on in our sleep. We’ll diligently switch it to Airplane or Silent (both not nearly enough, as it turns out – see Stealth Phone page), but turning them off is like amputating a limb. And these challenges are only going to increase with the further proliferation and integration of tech into our very personhood.
Besides, smart phones can take an age to turn off (many mistakes can happen with assuming that you’ve turned your phone off, when it’s still buffering its way through a laborious power-down, ready to abort at the slightest provocation), and even longer to turn back on – with a short interval and the immediacy of craving instant reconnection the moment the curtain goes down (or maybe even the possibility of missing a permitted/encouraged curtain-call photo-op at the end of the show), it should come as no surprise that simply requesting audiences to “turn it off” moments before curtain-up isn’t really working as well as it should.
“Great Campaign – sign me up right now!” – Mark Shenton, The Stage
“Tweet, blog, hashtag the sh*t out of this one” – Benedict Cumberbatch
Enquiries – firstname.lastname@example.org
MEDIA – you can email us with your number (and we’ll call you back to arrange interviews). Or better still – for a quicker response – follow us on Twitter @cumberphone and then DM (Direct Message) us to arrange a chat. Thanks.
“We need a big public awareness campaign” – Mark Shenton, The Stage, September 2015
To share any suggestions or ideas, please visit our Supporters page – where you’ll find a comment forum at the bottom.
To make your #cumberphone video message for “The Cumbies” Awards, please visit our Awards page: “The Cumbies – tackling the issue of Mobiles in Theatres, one show-tune and soliloquy at a time.”
Avenue Q have set the bar pretty high with this perfect #Cumberphone video, released on 1st Off-tober 2015!
PS – check out these Alamo Drafthouse cinemas “Don’t Talk” series from Hollywood’s finest…