Going to the theatre alone can be fun, promiseB Rosen

Theatre has always been seen as a social activity. There are set expectations of pre-show drinks, interval drinks, even a post-show tipple. And what’s watching a show without being able to mutter to those sat either side? Sly comments of approval or tuts of disdain, glancing to see if those you’re with find this part quite as hysterical as you do. But in this convention, the art of attending theatre alone has been lost. No longer do we feel comfortable booking a ticket and heading to our seat alone. Surely it’s the same as watching Netflix alone, except a little more cultural, wearing real clothes, and with the promise of ice-cream (always a plus!). Gallivanting solo is ace. And here’s why.

1) It allows for spontaneity. Fancy a heart-wrenching melodrama? Sure thing.  A pick-me-up to make you chuckle after a day of supervisions that made you cry or to get you through your house plant dying? No problem. Even an absurdist comedy about a peacock is on the cards. The choice is yours. No hassle and no stress of making arrangements in the group chat.

2) It allows you to make your own judgement on the piece you’re seeing. Being low-key antisocial means no more swaying of judgements before the show is over, especially in interval chit-chat. No more will you be affected by the yawns / laughs / intellectual ‘hmms’ / checking of watches / nods of approval by those you’re with (delete as appropriate). There is time to contemplate and decide your thoughts, which will therefore be completely and utterly your own.

3) It grows your confidence! This one’s a little more obscure, but ask yourself – when was the last time you spent some ‘you time’ in a public social space?  For some reason it is socially unacceptable nowadays to be out and about on your own without your phone being an extension of your arm. So treat yourself, break those conventions and rediscover the fabulous companionship of yours truly.

4) Attending the theatre alone eliminates the mundane small talk and allows for expansion of your mind (and nose) with people watching. The world of thesps is an intriguing alternative reality, filled with questionable clothing choices, interesting hair statements and of course, drama around every corner (I would know, I am one!). So, sit back, and become immersed in a world of the weird and wonderful.

5) You can make new friends. Bear with the cliché – sitting watching Assassins at the ADC this week, an older man (also on his own) leaned over and we began to chat.  I’m not sure whether it’s a generational thing, but sparking conversation with people around you, whether on the bus, in a queue or indeed in the theatre, is unfortunately something we have lost. So let’s rekindle it! You may get some crazy talk or learn something valuable. Who knows, but I guarantee it will be memorable.

6) Unique to Cambridge but one I cannot recommend enough – attending a show alone can mean – wait for it – free tickets! F to the R to the EE people. Stewarding for any Cambridge show gives the opportunity to see amazing theatre completely free of charge. All you have to do is arrive early and leave a little later, with the added bonus of a power complex when wearing the primary-coloured T-shirt.

Ultimately, the real reason we see theatre is to be transported temporarily elsewhere, to be inspired and engaged, with reality being frozen till we leave those doors. So, once we shake off the societal anxieties of being branded a loner by going to places alone, we can realise how amazing ridin’ solo can truly be – and see some mind-blowing or utterly abysmal theatre along the way