Going to see a live performance on stage is not like going to see a film at a movie theatre. Of course, there are certain pointers for movie goers as well, but going to see a play requires even more awareness of your fellow theatre-goers and actors on stage to ensure that the experience is enjoyable and memorable for all. Keep these tips in mind at your next performance.

  • Dress for the occasion. Think of going to the theatre as a special occasion, because it is a special occasion. Casual attire is acceptable now, but casual attire does not mean sloppy. No torn jeans or running shoes should be seen. Be comfortable, but polished. Think business or business casual.
  • Be on time. It shows respect for the actors on the stage and your fellow theatre-goers.
  • Go to the restroom before you sit down, or at the intermission, not during the performance. It will be disruptive to persons seated in your row as well as to the actors on the stage. And some theatres won’t let you back in if you leave before the act is over.
  • Unwrap any cough drops or candy before the show begins. The only sounds one should hear at a performance should be coming from the stage. Eating popcorn or wrappers in a movie theatre is fine since the volume of the movie is loud enough to drown out those sounds.
  • Do not fidget. It can be very distracting to people sitting around you.
  • Keep your shoes on. Wherever you are in public, your shoes should be kept on. Plus, your feet should remain on the floor and not resting on the seat in front of you.
  • Do not eat potato chips, pretzels, or any other crunchy snack during a live performance.
  • Do not talk during a live performance once it has begun.
  • Women, take off your hat if it might block another person’s view. And men shouldn’t be wearing hats indoors, anyway!!
  • Avoid wearing too much cologne or aftershave as well as smoking beforehand when sitting close to others. Those around you might have sensitivities to strong smells.
  • Respect the space of the persons on either side of you. Try to stay within the boundaries of your own chair; do not take both armrests. Check with the person next to you as to which armrest is whose.
  • Stay awake by avoiding drinking alcohol during intermission. Snoring, or leaning your head on a neighbor’s shoulder when you fall asleep is absolutely unacceptable.
  • Turn off your cell phone. As soon as you sit down, turn off your cell phone and put it away. Don’t even think of videotaping, sending or answering text messages either.
  • Do not sing along. Unless asked to sing along by the actors on the stage, refrain from singing, humming, or whistling the tunes you hear.
  • Refrain from pointing out someone’s rude behavior.  Although a person’s behavior may be inappropriate or disruptive, do not take it upon yourself to be the manners police. However, if the behavior is escalating, then speak to a theatre staff in the aisle.
  • Be appreciative. Do show your appreciation by clapping at the appropriate times; and standing at the end of the show when all others around you are standing.

Do you have other suggestions to add to the list? Please comment below. 


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