So today’s the day! Oh, the green room buzz, actors running through lines, practising dance steps or snatches of song, chattering compulsively to anyone who will listen or slowly sinking ever deeper into themselves in a corner. Props and stage management bustle to and fro with last minute additions and instructions, costume produces final finishing touches, makeup has a queue forming. The tension gradually building until the director’s final pre-show pep-talk. And, arriving at last, slowly at first and then in a flood, the final missing member of the cast, the one with whom we have never been able to rehearse – the audience.

The audience, with whom in a few moments we will enter into the age-old pact. Give us, we say, that most valuable of all commodities, your time, and in return we will give you – what? The opportunity to be entertained, delighted, distracted, charmed, informed, horrified, amused, transfixed, and enlightened. The chance to step, for however brief a time, outside the prison of your own individuality and become a part of a greater whole, your own small dreams, griefs and happinesses reflected back to you as part of the universal experience.

We offer you the opportunity to take part in one of our oldest rituals, one which stretches back over three thousand years, one of the foundation-stones of our civilisation. We ask you to know yourselves not just human, but Human.

All that for a ten pound ticket plus an interval drink. It sounds like a bargain to me.