The character of audiences

9th February 2011 | Daily Life, Musings | 2 comments

It’s always so interesting how each audience has its own character, even though each audience is a random collection of people. I have been to see the film ‘The King’s Speech’ twice recently in my local cinema. On the first occasion, nobody moved when the film ended. We all sat through the long credits, talking quietly about the film, and even after the music had faded, many people continued to sit chatting for a little while. It was clear that people had been touched by the film.

But last night, as soon as the film ended, there was a sudden noise of seats snapping up as people got to their feet and surged out of the cinema before the credits had rolled. Only four of us remained sitting there until the end. What was the difference between the two audiences? It seemed to me that the second audience was on the whole younger, but I don’t know why that would determine such a different reaction to the film.


  1. Petra Bijsterveld

    That makes me ponder concert audience behaviours: it appears that the gap between the end of a concert and the start of the applause is getting shorter these days, as if members of the audience are engaged in a race to be the first to clap. I find this quite disconcerting, especially when it is a serious piece which to my mind calls for some silence before showing one’s appreciation to the musicians. People sometimes start to clap whilst the final notes are still ringing.
    As for applause after every aria at the opera – is that really necessary? Do the singers appreciate it I wonder? I find it an unwelcome interruption of the music.

  2. Imogen

    Many years ago I went to see “Ghandi” with my parents, just after it had won a host of awards. The film finished, the credits began to roll, and the entire audience broke into spontaneous applause. It’s never happened since, at any film I’ve seen at the cinema. A truly collective eperience.


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