Dame Arlene Phillips issues plea after fallout from theatre singing debate

Dame Arlene Phillips weighed in on the singing in theatres debate (Picture: Getty/REX)

Dame Arlene Phillips has called for change in response to Alison Hammond’s apology after she ‘made light’ of banning singing in theatres during an episode of This Morning.

Alison took to Twitter on Easter Sunday (April 9) after receiving immense backlash for comments she made on the ITV daytime show during a debate about whether it was ok for audience members to sing along at jukebox musicals while cast members perform.

The presenter – who sat alongside colleagues Dermot O’Leary and Vanessa Feltz – said at the time that she was ‘devastated’ to hear singing was not encouraged in a conversation that was branded ‘incredibly stupid’ by theatre pros after they all decided the request during a production of The Bodyguard currently playing in Manchester was over-the-top.

What followed, however, was far more than a few tweets, as police were called to Manchester’s Palace Theatre on Friday after a ‘mini riot’ broke out during that same production, with reports of two disruptive women being dragged out.

Taking to Twitter to air her views, Dame Arlene, 79, accepted Alison’s apology, but she reckons that is just the start.

‘Alison thank you for your apology but I would just like to say, you have no idea what it is really like for those performers in the shows where the songs are popular hits and certain members of the audience feel entitled to join in’, the choreographer began.

The choreographer pleaded for behaviour to change (Picture: John Phillips/WireImage)

‘Performers are unsure what to do,’ argued the original Strictly Come Dancing judge.

‘They are not trained when audiences get out of control and arguing with each other. It’s so distressing.’

‘Let’s hope this behaviour stops and normality returns’, she concluded.

The former I’m A Celebrity campmate received a wealth of support, with one Twitter user hailing her ‘a voice of reason’.

‘Well done to Alison to admit she was wrong x just hope this doesn’t happen again for everyone’s sake’, another replied.

Alison’s original statement read: ‘After reflection and the comments I made on Wednesday’s show I want to apologise to anyone who I offended especially the incredibly talented theatre performers, who I have the utmost respect for.

Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary issued statements after backlash to their TV segment (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

‘I had no idea the level of disruption audiences were causing and tried to make light of the topic on Wednesday’s show, and for that I’m truly sorry.’

She added: ‘I am a great supporter of theatre and the arts and would never sing at the top of my lungs at any performance, I was wrong in what I said and I’ve given this a lot of thought over the past few days and believe I was wrong.

‘On Thursday evening I attended a performance of the GBBO the musical which I absolutely loved and gave a standing ovation, theatre is a magical experience for me and my family.’

The 48-year-old concluded: ‘I want to use my platform for good as always and want to stand up with the performers, front of house and theatre staff especially after seeing what happened at The Bodyguard in Manchester, which has made me sick to my stomach.

The This Morning host spoke out after a ‘mini right’ at a production of The Bodyguard (Picture: Twitter)

‘Once again I am truly sorry but trust me I will do better in the future.’

Co-presenter Dermot later chimed in with his own statement, urging those with an opinion to be certain they know the whole story.

The former X Factor host, 49, penned: ‘Could I politely urge anyone passing judgement on the clip to watch the whole interview… as I was actually arguing AGAINST people singing too loudly in theatres.’

‘Nothing but love and respect for those treading the boards,’ added the radio broadcaster.

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