George Clooney's wife Amal Alamuddin is teaching him about British Christmas traditions, including pantomime

George Clooney’s wife Amal Alamuddin is teaching him about British Christmas traditions, including pantomime

What’s caught your eye this week? Here are a few pieces and issues that have caught mine and may be worth a longer look for you too.

Free tickets, like free lunches, are paid for in good manners

Wall Street Journal theatre commentator Joanne Kaufman admitted to “bolting” at the interval at the majority of Broadway productions she sees, including Matilda, Billy Elliot and Boeing-Boeing – for which she receives free press tickets.

Apart from the fact that the woman clearly has no taste, I find this behaviour outrageous. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth! (And quite a gift: remember, at Broadway shows, you’re looking at at least $400 for a pair.) If you’re at a press performance, you stay til the end, period. In rare circumstances, I have been known to leave discreetly at the interval on other ‘freebie’ visits if I had a good reason, but I would never publicise that in any way. It’s this kind of smugly entitled behaviour that gives journalists a bad name.

Kaufman’s admission attracted dozens of similar comments on the Wall Street Journal’s own website, and resulted in at least one leading Broadway publicist to ban her from his productions. Quite right.

Confessions of a Broadway Bolter

Joanne Kaufman leaves performances early all the time. And she’s not embarrassed. If there’s an interval, it’s too much of a temptation, she says.

Most of her readers are embarrassed for her, though.

Theatrical Press Agent Blacklists Wall Street Journal Critic

Press agent Rick Miramontez responded by banning ‘Joltin’ Joanne’ from all of his client’s shows in future.

And writing a fabulous letter which WSJ didn’t publish – but Playbill has, in its entirety.

The cost of walking out when you’re given free tickets

If you were a guest in someone’s house, you wouldn’t just get up and leave without saying goodbye, or making extravagant excuses for your early exit.

The rules of etiquette apply in theatre, too.

Who is theatre for? What’s it worth? Where does it thrive?

Janet Suzman defends claims that ‘theatre is a white invention’

Janet Suzman has defended her comments that theatre is a “white invention”, adding that she was talking about the “a small part of a larger picture”.

Has she been misquoted? Does she have a point?

Arts and culture have “zero” impact on the economy

The financial impact of cultural events on local economies “tend not to be large and are more often zero,” according to new data published by the government-backed What Works Network.

Really? Hogwash!

London Olympicopolis culture hub plan gets £141m funding

The site of the 2012 Olympics is to be transformed into a new cultural hub for London featuring outposts of the V&A and Sadler’s Wells.

Will East End overtake West End in future?

It’s upon us! Pantomime points

George Clooney’s British bride teaches him about panto

George Clooney’s first pantomime will be seeing Jerry Hall star in Richmond’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. His wife is explaining the ‘ins and outs’.

I’ve been here 20+ years: I still don’t get it!

Daniella Westbrook loses Torquay panto role following drugs relapse

Former EastEnders star Danniella Westbrook claims she has been dropped from a West Country panto and is living in sheltered accommodation and relying on food banks.

No druggies in Pantoland?

How to find out your panto dame name

Have you ever wanted to be a panto dame? The glamour, the fame, the adoration. You can’t be a dame without a name. Play the game to find your very own Panto Dame name.

I am Mother Dolly Dumpling!!