Theatre Etiquette

Going to the theatre can be a really enjoyable experience. But remember, it is not just for you. There are also other people trying to enjoy the show. So read our theatre etiquette and enjoy the evening.

The most important thing is to show up on time, whether it is a concert or a stage play. If you arrive late, you may be unable to get to your assigned seat until there is a suitable break in the performance. You may have to wait until intermission.

Turn off your cell phone and other electronic devices when you arrive to the theater. This applies to text messaging too. The light from your cell phone can be distracting to others around you. And don’t take pictures during the show.

No eating in the theatre. If refreshments are sold in the lobby, consume them before the show or during intermission.

Don’t disturb others. They would like to see and hear the play too. Avoid wearing hats, or leaning too close to your friend or partner and blocking the view of the people behind you.

You can laugh, applaud and enjoy the show. However, don’t talk during the performance. General theatre etiquette states that whistling and cheering are in bad taste. You may clap at the end of a show or the end of a song. In musicals, a performer might receive applause when they first enter, after an impressive dance routine, after each song and at the end of each act. The band or orchestra might also be worthy of your applause after the overture or a big musical moment.

During an opera, people tend to applaud at the end of a scene when the curtain comes down, or at the end of an impressive aria. In dance, the applause is more frequent with many audience members choosing to applaud impressive choreography while it’s being performed. Symphonies can be a bit tricky. The orchestra will wait for a few moments between different parts or movements. It is customary not to applaud until the end of the final movement.

Wear proper attire. Broadway used to demand formal attire. Although full blown evening gowns and a tuxedos are no longer required, you should still attempt to wear neat and presentable clothing.

If you and your party have an opera box, here are the few rules for it. Gentleman draws back the box curtain for the ladies to enter the box. Ladies take the front seats. The most distinguished or oldest guest takes the seat in the corner nearest the stage. A gentleman never sits in the front row of a box, even if he is for a time alone in it. Before the performance begins, temember to close the curtains as the light coming from the doorway might distract the audience across the house.