A war of words has broken out on The Cut, with Young Vic bosses accusing the Old Vic's Kevin Spacey of encouraging dull, formal theatres by criticising noisy audiences.
Spacey, artistic director of the Old Vic, launched a scathing attack on theatre-goers who didn't switch off their mobile phones, or opened sweet wrappers during performances. "My feeling is if people don't know how to behave they shouldn't come", Spacey told Radio 4's Front Row programme earlier this month.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony for the rebuilt Young Vic theatre across the road, Joseph Fiennes countered: "I think that it is sad that anything as minimal as crushing sweet papers has been picked up on.
"Here at the Young Vic, we are against that sort of arch, slightly bourgeois environment, with expensive seating and that sense of formality. We want to be more than that."
Spacey's counterpart at the Young Vic David Lan added: "Basically, we think exactly the opposite of Spacey. We would like audiences to be made up of people coming who don't normally go to the theatre.
"We want to put on big, difficult productions. We don't mind noisy audiences."