Benedict Cumberbatch has made a personal plea to fans to refrain from filming him on stage as he takes on the iconic title role in Hamlet.
The Sherlock star made his debut in the title role of Lyndsey Turner's contemporary production of the Shakespearean classic on Wednesday (5 August), beginning a 12-week run.
The 39-year-old addressed fans gathered at the stage door as he left the Barbican Centre after Saturday (8 August) night's performance which was halted twice due to technical problems.
The actor said it was 'mortifying' to be filmed by members of the audience while on stage, adding that there was 'nothing less supportive or enjoyable as an actor' as being filmed from a mobile phone while trying to deliver to 'a live audience.'
"Can I ask you all a huge favour? First of all can I just say a huge thank you to all of you who are here tonight," he said. "But all of this (pointing to flashing cameras) all these cameras, phones, filming me.
"Put this to good use - it's been a hell of a week. This is part of it, outside, whatever, fine. But I can see cameras, I can see red lights in the auditorium. It's blindingly obvious, it's very, very obvious.
"We started again tonight... it's not the easiest thing to do in a play but (it makes it) even harder. I could see a red light in the third row. It's mortifying."
"I can't give you what I want to give you which is a live performance that hopefully you will remember in your minds and brains, whether it's good bad or indifferent, rather than on your phones, so please don't," he said.
He warned that theatre staff would take strong measures to prevent further disruptions, using 'devices' planned to 'detect and evict' anyone caught filming the show from their seat.
"I don't want that to happen, that's a horrible way to police what is a wonderful thing."
Asking fans to share his request not to record the production he added: "What I really want to do is try and enlist you. I don't really use social media, but I'd really appreciate it if you did tweet, blog, hashtag the s*** out of this one for me,' he pleaded, "This isn't me blaming you, this is just me asking you to just ripple it out there, in the brilliant, beautiful way that you do with your electronic things."
Described as the hottest ticket in town, 100,000 advance tickets were sold within minutes when they were released in August last year. Tickets have been made available for purchase on the day of the production and are being offered for up to £650.
Cumberbatch's portrayal of the Danish Prince has been hailed by fans on social media as "sublime, SUPREME" and "electrifying" .