From giggling schoolchildren to chirping mobile phones, noises off have a rich history of drawing ire from actors on the stage.

Now Hollywood actor James McAvoy has become the latest to be visibly irked by activity from the audience.

During a performance of Macbeth in London, the Scots star saw a member of the audience was filming him with a mobile phone.

The Glasgow-born actor, who was playing the role of Shakespeare's Scottish king at the Trafalgar Studios, remonstrated with the man.

One witness said the actor shouted at him and asked him to stop filming.

"The poor fellow looked very embarrassed," a witness said.

Last night, a statement on behalf of the theatre said: "An audience member was caught filming by the actor James McAvoy.

"The filming disrupted the production of Macbeth, forcing James McAvoy to respond to the audience member by asking them to stop filming immediately.

"The production then continued as planned once the camera had been put away."

It has been an eventful production for the Drumchapel-born star of films such as X-Men, Atonement, Welcome to the Punch and the adaptation of Irvine Welsh novel Filth, who is currently on cinema screens in Danny Boyle's latest movie, Trance.

Earlier in the play's run, he broke off from his performance to check on the health of a person who had collapsed.

McAvoy's decision to confront the man with the camera phone is not the first time an actor has come out of character to talk to the audience.

The late actor Richard Griffiths berated one audience member while performing in The History Boys after a mobile phone began ringing, and the Scottish actor Ken Stott, when appearing in A View from the Bridge in 2009, stopped the play because of some noisy schoolchildren.

Also in 2009, Hugh Jackman, while starring a preview performance in the Broadway play A Steady Rain with Daniel Craig, broke character when his performance was interrupted by a mobile phone ringing.

McAvoy has said he has found the Shakespearean role challenging, saying it was more physically demanding than any action movie he had ever worked on.

"It's more physically dynamic than anything. We've got cuts and bruises all over and we are down at the physio a couple of times a week," he said. "We're like a walking, fighting army that are struggling to get through at the moment."

The show, directed by Jamie Lloyd, is running at Trafalgar Studios until April 27.