Becky Mary (@beckyymary) talks about the security bag checks when in theatres.
Whenever I have been to the theatre it is standard for there to be several security guards standing outside the doors to the entrance. Normally they ask you to check your bag before you go into inside. I haven’t thought about this before and what it meant because being British we just conform to what we’re told to do. But in all seriousness why do they check bags?
Bag checks started off in the West End where security is a big task to undertake. It’s said that because theatres are bigger and the population of theatre goers is greater there is a need for extra security . Also most productions have a generally larger scale of cast members, unlike touring musicals and plays who try to kept casts as small as possible because of factors such as costs, travel and need of them.
But today is very different. Bag checks are now being carried out not just in the West End but also on the touring productions in venues all over the UK. (I have been to Woking theatre many times and every time your bag is checked before you can go through). Also there has been an increase in security presence not just in the West End main entrance but also at stage doors. Why is that you ask?
Well it seems to be that because of the incidents not just in the UK but also in other countries security has become a big part of society. We feel agitated when we cannot see is such a big venue that there is not some security. Some people say that the use of bags checks is to create a false sense of security with people. The reason behind this is when you’re bag does get checked apart from the obvious such as giant knifes, bombs, guns or possible other items that could be used to harm someone, items such as lighters, your shopping and even your own drinks can be brought into the theatre. (Lets be honest we all do that because theatre drinks are so expensive!)
Another reason why bag checks have become the norm in theatre is because a lot of casting now have people from various backgrounds such as American TV personalities, UK TV personalities, film stars and even winners of talent shows. This creates the need for added security because of their status. This is for the protection of them, which you may ask what do you mean? Theatre is very accessible to anyone so when big named stars star in a production that individual has their own security needs, this could be because of possible stalking, big crowds wanting to meet them which can cause of risk not just to them but also to other patrons and even because of their status in society.
So are bag checks effective? Well I think most people can agree that bag checks are not really that effective because most of the time they just have a quick look then let you in. I think that bag checks are more to show people that the theatre does have the right to check them and they do have the power to not let you in. This causes people who think it could be a good place to cause a commotion that its not possible so not to bother. It also creates a sense of security for us as patrons and ticks the boxes for perfomers’ safety too.