by Jez Bond

There is an age old superstition in the theatre concerning the utterance of the name 'Macbeth'. Those who adhere to the superstition uphold that the only time one is allowed to say 'Macbeth' in a theatre (and by this one means the actual auditorium and stage - the foyer, as far as I'm aware is permitted) is when, as an actor, you are speaking the character's name in the play itself. The play is therefore not referred to by its title but as "the Scottish play".

It's an odd concept, I think, that saying a particular word in a particular place would conjure up some sort of evil, that would put a curse on a show. We've heard the stories about the filming of The Omen and how so many cast and crew died in supposedly mysterious circumstances in the months following shooting. Still, the thought of actors who are the creators of live magic, the conjurors of illusion, being terrified by a spoken word strikes me as ridiculous. And worse still I know, in writing this, that many actors will be mortally offended at my suggestion.

However I believe that we create our own luck, shape our own destiny and that every person in Park Theatre should stand on stage and pronounce Macbeth at the top of their voice. Out with the stuffy superstitions, this is Park Theatre - no baggage, no bullshit, just a new outlook. I for one am so mischevious that I know I'll have to say just to make a point - the question is whether I'll do it with anyone else around. As I say, people do genuinely get offended!






There are many theories about why Macbeth is unlucky. My favourite is that in the old days, the play was sure-fire box-office so that any theatre in financial difficulties resorted to a production of Macbeth. Therefore to mention Macbeth suggested that you were in trouble.

By Ian Barritt | Mon 23 Jul 2012


I will come and shout it with you, if you like. And follow it with a whistle. Superstitions are silly, you do create you own luck!

By Annie Walker | Mon 23 Jul 2012


Good for you, Jez. I try not to be superstitious but superstitions are powerful and can exert quite a hold. I feel myself getting a bit OCDish about them sometimes. Actors are in a precarious profession which is I suppose why we get funny about superstitions. But well done for trying to get us over them!

By Robin Miller | Mon 23 Jul 2012


When you find yourself in any number of venues during a lifetime in theatre, superstitions can be like a pair of comfortable shoes or like a picture that you put up to make a hotel room feel like home. Generally though, I am more upset at actors who cannot stop talking when you are doing quiet preparation before going on!

By Alex Nash | Mon 23 Jul 2012


Thanks for all the comments folks! Great to hear your thoughts.

By Jez Bond | Tue 24 Jul 2012

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