Abigail MeadowNovember 4th

Theatres are being urged to ditch phrases such as 'ladies and gentlemen' in favour of more gender-neutral terms in new guidelines from actors' trade union Equity.

Some LGBTQ+ campaigners argue that phrases such as 'ladies and gentlemen' are outdated and inappropriate for people who identify neither as male nor female but instead as non-binary and use pronouns such as they and them.

According to The Sunday Times, the National Theatre has said it will be 'phasing out' using the term 'ladies and gentlemen', with a spokesperson telling the newspaper: "We do not use 'ladies and gentlemen' back of house and this is being phased out in our front-of-house announcements."


As well as the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company has said it would be carrying out a 'comprehensive review' of its policies and looking at 'all announcements, signage and the introduction of some gender-neutral facilities'.

The union also called for casting bosses to choose transgender people to play non-trans characters.

The guide said: "It is hard for trans actors to build a career out of the very small amount of trans-specific roles if these are the only roles for which they are actively sought."


Nica Burns, a co-owner of Nimax Theatres, which runs a number of London's West End's biggest theatres, told the newspaper: "Coming to the theatre is a shared and communal experience in one single auditorium and we want to please our audience and give them a great evening. We wouldn't want anyone to feel offended or annoyed."

Burns explained the theatres tended to keep things pretty simple and just use phrases such as 'good evening' or 'welcome'.

Equity LGBT+ committee member Tigger Blaize said: "We are really excited about launching our guide. It's designed to be a toolkit of ideas, encouraging industry professionals to feel confident in approaching performers who identify as LGBT+, if they were previously unsure."


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