Etiquette in the Theatre

Watching the opera, the movies or a gala can be very fun and exciting. However, you need to remember a few social rules and guidelines to avoid embarrassing yourself in the process. The way you behave inside the theatre upon the moment of your arrival will distinguish you as either a respectable guest or someone who needs to learn some manners.

Watching Broadway

Arrive at the venue early. You should be there about 20 to 30 minutes before the show starts. If you happen to arrive late, wait for the intermission or short break before going inside. Do not argue with ushers if you need to wait, since these personnel are only doing their job. You can view the television screen in the lobby as you wait to enter and be seated.

Turn off your watch alarm and cellular phone while waiting. If your cell phone happens to ring during the performance, do not answer the phone or excuse yourself out of the theatre. Immediately shut it off. Only check messages and missed calls during intermission. Do not talk during the performance and avoid singing or humming with the music. Do not drink or eat during the performance. Save your snacks for intermission.

Next Tips

Always keep your feet on the floor and not on the balcony or seat in front of you. If you need to unwrap medications and cough suppressants, do so during loud musical numbers, applause and laughing. There are a number of rules when applauding. You can shout Brava or Bravo to excellent performers. The conductor is also applauded when he enters at the beginning. You can applaud very well or give a standing ovation to very good performances.

When the performance ends, do not immediately aim for the exit. Wait for the actors to exit the stage entirely before leaving. Make sure you follow the minimum age limit if you intend to bring kids. Always orient your children about what to expect and teach them about proper manners and how to behave inside the theatre. Feed them and have them go to the bathroom before the start of the performance. Give them some light snacks and bring them back to the bathroom during intermission. Most theatres recommend that you do not bring children younger than 4 years old to the theatre. Never videotape the performance.

Final Guidelines

If your view is blocked by a tall person in front of you, ask the usher to find you another seat or ask for a booster cushion. Make sure you have your tickets ready when arriving at the venue. It will be very difficult to ask for an extra seat or ticket, so only bring the right number of people in accordance to the allowable tickets and seats. Feel free to mingle and converse with other attendees before you enter the theatre. You can also praise and commend actors and directors after the entire show is finished behind the stage or in their dressing room. Make sure you request this first.

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