It has been launched, according to a statement on their website, "to finally and properly address the vexing issue of mobile phones in theatres. It’s got to be more than simply 'turn it off' or 'no photos,' with varying pre-show announcements and haphazard brave ushering. We need a unified approach across Theatreland, and we need it now. If we in Theatre can harness our collective imagination and creativity to the fullest (something we should be pretty good at), combined with tech savvy and marketing nous, then we can hopefully have a dramatic impact."
In a statement on their website, the campaign stresses what they are not:
The site will release its "Mobiles Manifesto" in October. The intention is for theatre to "better embrace technology." This means, they say, "we want better WiFi; we want more e-ticketing and theatre apps; we want more digital programmes and content (NT Backstage is great, and they’re finally getting a proper mobile site up soon too); we want more NT Live and Digital Theatre and the like; and we want theatres to interact with the audience through their phones far better than they do now."
To that end, they say, "Our best option is to do a better job of the pre-show routine. But this isn’t just about the announcements a few moments before curtains-up – however funny or pleading or threatening they may be. From the moment you buy your tickets, there are a number of ‘nudges’ that can be deployed to better prepare theatre-goers. We aim to better institutionalise these processes across the industry – and there’s safety in numbers. No one theatre or production wants to be that awkward, prissy, irascible nerd who won’t stop banging on about mobile phones, do they? But some can certainly blaze a trail."
For further details on Cumberphone Campaign, visit the website, cumberphonecampaign.wordpress.com, and for updates on Twitter, follow @cumberphone and hashtag #cumberphone
- "We are emphatically not a bunch of huffy Luddite Luvvies – we love our phones, we really do. (You’re most likely reading this on your phone too, right? Well, so long as you’re not doing it during a show, that’s fine by us). We aim to bring together a broad spectrum of theatre-lovers, from the exasperated angry shushers to the laid-back shoulder-shruggers."
- "Neither are we a Cumberbatch fan-site (lovely chap though he is), or a parody – although admittedly our very name and our penchant for prefixing anything that moves with a “cumber” is perhaps grounds for a raised eyebrow.