THEATRE bosses in Clacton are considering conflict management training for its staff following a rise in “rowdy” and drunk audience members – some of whom have smuggled in booze.

Clacton’s Princes Theatre has seen an increase in trouble at shows, with staff spotting people sneaking in bottles of vodka.

Theatre staff have even been assaulted by a theatre-goer who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

Kai Aberdeen, manager of the Princes Theatre, said that theatres should be "a place of decorum".

"We speak to many managers at different theatres and it's been noticed across the board," he told the BBC.

"We've noticed more since after the lockdown, it seems to be getting worse.

"We're having a lot of people who are now deciding that instead of bringing in bottles of water, they're bringing in bottles of vodka."

He added that the venue serves alcohol but that it is "very difficult” to keep an eye on audience members who are “swigging” vodka in the auditorium.

He added that there have been times when audience members have got drunk and have made the experience uncomfortable for other theatre-goers.

"It's got the point now where we're considering getting our front-of-house staff conflict management training," he added.

"We don't expect them to do the role of door staff, but in order to keep them safer we have a duty of care - they're just normal people, they check tickets and help people find their seats and the toilets.

"They're not there to deal with rowdy people who have potty mouth."

Mr Aberdeen added that on a number of occasions when a “rowdy element” has been expected to attend, the theatre has booked licensed door staff.

"It's understandable in a nightclub, but in a theatre you don't expect people to become so inebriated that they don't give any consideration to other people's experience,” he added.

The Princes Theatre, which is based at Clacton Town Hall, is run by Tendring Council.

It hosts numerous shows throughout the year, including music, drama, comedy, children’s shows, professional wrestling, as well as staging a professional pantomime every winter.

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