[you can post a Comment / Suggestion / Idea at the bottom of this page…]

A key aspect of the Cumberphone Campaign is to enlist the support of Performers, Directors and Producers. But especially Performers.

We hope that Theatreland will institute far more ritualised and collective acts of encouragement to audiences to “turn their phones off” (although it’s not that simple – see Stealth Phone and the Mobiles Manifesto) – and a great deal of that is going to be in the hands of our talented, tireless actors. It should be fun, not onerous, for both audience and performer.

Brief Announcements and Signs don’t seem to be doing the trick so far, do they?

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”…

For the leading category of Best pre-show short film, we’d like to get the ball rolling now by enlisting all of you wonderful performers reading this to perform a portion, scene or song from your show (or a rival show perhaps) – with words suitably adjusted – post it online – on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook using #cumberphone – then nominate your fellow professionals to do the same.

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!

Avenue Q have set the bar pretty high with this perfect #Cumberphone video, released on 1st Off-tober 2015!

For further inspiration, check out these brilliant pre-screening “Don’t Talk” shorts from the Alamo Drafthouse cinema chain in the U.S. – Hollywood’s finest doing doing their bit for the cause (and see videos at the bottom of this page).

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…

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:

Dame Judi Dench: “I can’t see well. But what I can see is red lights all over the theatre, and I know that’s people taking photographs. It’s a kind of oblivion to other people.”

Kenneth Cranham & Claire Skinner, The Father – speaking on the Graham Norton BBC Radio2 show (October 2015) LISTEN:

“Mobiles go off ALL THE TIME. Sometimes I shout: ‘PHONE!'” – Claire Skinner

“It spoils the moment, it really does” – Kenneth Cranham

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

Sam Mackay, Usnavi, In The Heights: “Theatre etiquette 101 – sitting on your phone in the audience is disrespectful to the performers and just plain rude in general. Turn it off. Even if I don;t enjoy a show I’d never be rude enough to sit on my phone – if it’s so bad, leave – do everyone a favour.” (@SamBMackay) – 7th March 2016

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.

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, post a #cumberphone pic on Instagram – 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 get your “Twibbons” (a mini cumberphone logo to add to the corner of your Twitter profile to help spread the word) here –

Like Us on Facebook –

…and you can post a Comment / Suggestion / Idea below.

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

A brief note about Comments…

If you’d like to follow us on Twitter than we can exchange DMs, but we hope you’ll understand if (for the most part) we’re not able to engage in much frenetic and detailed to-ing-and-fro-ing in reply to open public tweets – that’ll just drive all our other followers potty – although we’ll happily wear out our “favourite” button in response to anything you might have to say.

But the best place for open discussion is via this Comments section. Thanks.

Obviously our hope is for such discussions to be focussed mainly on the obstacles we face and the solutions we can pursue, rather than just a place to let off steam (though we welcome all your phone-related horror stories of course) – or for that matter a place for you to tell us what a bunch of no-hopers and daydream-believers we are, or something perhaps – ahem – less polite (“Cumberdouches”?), but what the hey, honest intelligent criticism is invaluable. If the whole idea of this campaign is simply not your cup of tea, or particular brand of vodka, then that’s absolutely fine with us – but we’ve seen Chimerica…. and we all remember what it had to say about the internet, don’t we? 😉

We hope you’ll be willing to read our Theatreland Mobiles Manifesto too first – hopefully many of the answers to your questions will already have been addressed. We look forward to hearing from and working with you all to help realise our vision. Thanks so much for your time and your interest.



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