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Everyday Ageism: FEMAIL columnist CHRISTA D’SOUZA, asks will theatre ever return to the way it was?

It’s the last tolerated prejudice. But Femail’s had enough. It’s time we called out those day-to-day moments when we’re patronised for no longer being young… 

Will theatre ever return to the way it was? A stage actor friend who came for tea last week sadly thinks not.

One thing he tells us he wouldn’t miss is the ‘matinee audience’. By that he meant not parties of children — but seniors.

Seniors with their whistling hearing aids and coughing and wheezing and constant need to get up to spend a penny; seniors needing to have everything explained by the person sitting next to them; seniors being late after the interval.

Kids with their rustling crisp bags and itchy feet, he added, are a breeze by comparison.

He told of one stage and screen legend (a national treasure, so I’d better not mention the name) who got so fed up with the interruptions, she had it written into her contract she wouldn’t do matinees any more — specifically because of the elderly.

My friend is in his 80s himself, so in a way, fair cop.

But in view of Covid-19, and how ageist attitudes have been so bolstered during the pandemic, he might need to rethink.

Senior citizens are the bedrock of loyal support for theatres and to keep the industry afloat they must be enticed back.

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