Refusing to say ‘Macbeth’ in a theatre is one of the most widely held superstitions in theatre. It is believed that saying the name of the play will bring bad luck to the theatre company and so instead it is frequently referred to as ‘The Scottish Play.’
The reasons for this are unclear, but many actors will have heard anecdotes about productions of the play – which is all about witchcraft and murder - that have been fraught with misadventure, suggesting that it is perhaps the play itself that is unlucky.
If you do say Macbeth in a theatre, don’t panic! One way to be cleansed and forgiven is to leave the room, turn around three times, spit over your left shoulder and swearing, before waiting to be invited back in.