Lanarkshire cancer survivor ‘intimidated’ by ‘aggressive stewards’ while attending Edinburgh Playhouse musical

A Lanarkshire cancer survivor says she will “never step foot in Edinburgh Playhouse again” after she was made to feel “very intimidated by aggressive stewards” during a musical show at the venue.

Sheila McNicol revealed she has “never been spoken to like that in her whole life” as staff accused her of being a “disruptive element” for singing and clapping along to Meat Loaf tribute Bat Out Of Hell.

Former teacher Sheila, of Airdrie, paid £66 to attend the show on February 16 – her first in nearly three years due to the pandemic – but her special night was quickly ruined.

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The 63-year-old told Lanarkshire Live: “I went to the musical with my neighbour, Carol Cairley, and we were really looking forward to it.

“We went out for a meal before it and had really good seats in the Playhouse.

“At one point I started clapping along to a song and before I knew it someone in the audience was accusing me of singing.

“I didn’t sign at all; I don’t really know all of the words to Meat Loaf’s songs.

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Former teacher Sheila paid £66 to attend the Bat Out Of Hell show – but her special night was quickly ruined

“I noticed a man and woman who were sat near us being asked to leave and then three stewards appeared to talk to us.

“They said I couldn’t clap my hands or sing along and accused me of jumping up and down in my seat, which was nonsense.

“I was told people had complained about me being a ‘disruptive influence’ and a female steward started shouting at me.

“I’ve never been spoken to like that in my whole life – and I’m a former teacher.

“I felt very intimidated and threatened and the whole experience was very uncomfortable.”

As we previously reported, Sheila won her brave 12-month battle with breast cancer in 2016 and is now giving something back to others in a similar position by working as a volunteer and guest speaker for Breast Cancer Care.

She isn’t the only one to voice unrest over her treatment at the Playhouse as bosses at the capital theater have come under heavy criticism for a slew of similar accusations throughout the Meat Loaf tribute show’s run.

Sheila said: “To go through something like this on what should have been a great day after all I’ve been through with my health is horrible.

“We booked the tickets – which cost us £66 each – before Christmas and we had been really excited about going, especially as it was the first show we’d been to in nearly three years because of COVID.

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“I love Meat Loaf, and his music, and it should have been a concert to remember. Unfortunately it will be, but for all the wrong reasons.

Sheila, pictured, front, centre, during a bag-packing event at Tesco Coatbridge to raise funds for charity Breast Cancer Care, says she will “never step foot in Edinburgh Playhouse again”

“What happened ruined the whole day. A lot of people sitting near us were shocked by our treatment and said I hadn’t done anything wrong.

“I sat on my hands for the rest of the concert and even during the end of the show, when people were getting up on their feet to clap and cheer, I felt like I couldn’t move an inch in case I got into more trouble.

“This was the first time I’d been in Edinburgh Playhouse for a good few years – and I will never set foot in there ever again.

“It was a very unwelcoming place and the way we were treated was shocking.

“I have asked for my money back, but have yet to hear back regarding my request.”

An Edinburgh Playhouse spokesman said: ““We want everyone to have a great night out, but unless the show has a sing-a-long’ in the title, or is invited by the performers, audience participation is not encouraged.

“This is partly out of respect for the actors, but is mainly in consideration for the majority who have paid to listen to the performances taking place on stage.

“This is not a new policy within any theater and persistent anti-social behavior towards other audience members or our staff will not be tolerated.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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