An interesting story in today’s Sunday Telegraph about marathon recordings reminds us shows should never overlook their loyal audience, especially those who have made an effort to attend.
An unnamed audience member attending The Voice told the newspaper the event took some 12 hours, that they were “herded like cattle” and given just “lollies and water.”
“We arrived at lunchtime and waited outside under a small shelter for six hours, even before we were allowed into the studio,” an audience member said.
“Once we were inside we then had to stand for a further six hours, which was a lot longer than we were led to believe.”
They claim they were told they could not leave.
“They were given lollies and water; it was hell. Some people were standing the whole time,” she said.
A spokesperson said the audience were loaded between 6.30 and 7.30pm, recording began at 8pm and ended at 11.30pm.
“There were seated and standing audiences for the Showdowns, so her reference to being in the mosh pit could have been correct. Certainly it is definitely not our policy to hold any audience if they wish to leave,” they said.
In television production some shows are recorded ‘As Live,’ meaning they endeavour to film everything in one go. But most do not, and should not be expected to when they have numerous factors to juggle from production demands, talent, safety and more.
Certainly the relationship is a delicate one. Productions need enthusiastic audiences to elicit the best outcome. Audiences are also attending a free performance, so it’s not unreasonable to fulfill an agreed role.
But while producers (and especially warm-up men) will beg you to stay, it’s not compulsory to remain for unreasonable periods.
In my experience of The Voice the recordings were very long, but audience members were not prohibited from leaving. I’ve attended other shows that fit that same description.
Given that someone has spoken to a newspaper about their concerns, it’s a good wake-up call that in this most collaborative industry, the audience should never be taken for granted.