It is World Theatre Day, and while it has been a horrible year with theatres closed, for the most part, I want to celebrate and look forward to when we can enjoy live performance again.
So here are 47 things I love about going to the theatre:
1. The familiarity of the walk up to a theatre I've visited many times before.
2. Patiently listening to the front of house staff telling me where the loos are and the directions for my seat even though I'm a regular and know the theatre layout like my own flat.
3. The sound of the 2-minute warning bell.
4. The fact that it isn't really 2 minutes, and it's just to chivvy people along.
5. The buzz of the auditorium before the lights go down.
6. The way the chatter quickly dies down when they do.
7. The £10 Monday crowd.
8. Getting a fantastic day seat deal for something you really want to see.
9. Getting front-row seats.
10. The difference between the weekday audience and the weekend audience.
11. Not wanting to stare when the actors are already on stage but feeling it's rude to ignore them.
12. Seeing the set for the first time (if there is a curtain).
13. Entering the auditorium and not knowing where the stage will be because it's a flexible performance space.
14. Missing the first few lines because you are still busy taking it all in.
15. Getting completely lost in the performance, you gasp or cry.
16. Watching something that makes you feel angry.
17. Watching something that makes you grin or laugh.
18. Enjoying the reaction of those sitting around you.
19. The excitement of seeing a new play by a favourite playwright.
20. The excitement of seeing a new production by a favourite director.
21. Seeing a favourite classic for the umpteenth time and getting excited about 'what they've done with it'.
22. Getting excited by casting announcements.
23. Getting excited when you manage to get tickets for something which has a big star in it.
24. Getting excited about a favourite stage actor with fellow theatre fans because your friends who don't go to the theatre have no idea who you are talking about.
25. Seeing big stars on stage and remembering their early performances when they were unknown.
26. Reminiscing about particularly productions that everyone loves.
27. Knowing where the 'other' loos are that are always quiet at the interval.
28. Coming out of the theatre, feeling like every nerve is firing and feeling alive.
29. Coming away from the theatre with an unexpected souvenir.
30. Giving supportive applause when the stage manager announces an understudy will be performing.
31. Giving supportive applause when a broken bit of set is fixed, and the performance restarts.
32. Experiencing an ad-lib or other moment that you know is unique to that performance.
33. Going back to see something a second time because you loved it so much.
34. Seeing a familiar play in a completely new light.
35. Learning new stuff or gaining a fresh appreciation.
36. Being entertained.
37. Being inspired.
38. Being upset
39. Needing a moment at the end of a performance to compose yourself.
40. Not being able to speak at the end of a performance because you can't quite put into words the experience of what you saw.
41. The feeling of knowing that you've just seen something extraordinary.
42. Admiring how the actors work with mishaps and mistakes as if they were planned all along.
43. Being momentarily distracted by a prop or piece of set that goes awry.
44. Going to small theatres and being so close to the actors, you could touch them.
45. Sitting on the stage or a bean bag or somewhere you wouldn't normally.
46. Having a story to tell from that one time when...
47. Spotting actors in the audience.
I could keep going; what would you add?