Theatre Etiquette


Caleb Buford, Messenger Reporter & Business Manager

One of the most aggravating things I experience when I go see the show are people not following the basic rules of theatre etiquette. But, then, I remind myself that it’s probably the first time that they’ve been in a theatre or that no one has told them how to act during a show. So, in response to better educate society here are the top 5 theatre etiquette rules that you need to know before you go to see a show.

Turn off your phone. This is one of the biggest issues that I have ran into at theatre events everywhere. Phones do not belong in the theatre during the performance. Not only do they take away from the piece of work and art being presented to you, but it’s distracting to your fellow audience members and even the actors on stage.

Unwrap your candies before the show begins. One of the queens of Broadway. Patti LuPone, called out an audience member once for trying to slowly unwrap their candy during the show. Let me tell you now; it doesn’t matter how slow you open that candy wrapper, we ALL hear it in it’s crinkling glory.

Do not sing along. Unless at the beginning of the show they state that they encourage the audience to sing along, or they shine lights or project the lyrics on the audience during a song and cast encourages you to sing, do not sing along. I paid $70 to hear those on stage who are professionals sing, not your amateur voice behind me.

Follow the pre-production announcements. No photography of any kind, no videography, silence your cellphones (even better, turn it off), and unwrap your candies before the show. Sadly, the latter announcement is true for a variety of productions. These rules help to ensure the production is distraction free. It is also illegal to record a copyrighted work, so pretty much any play or musical your attend. As sung in Catch Me If You Can, the musical, “Don’t break the rules!”

Do NOT get up in the middle of a scene. Unless you have an absolute emergency, please, please do not get up from your seat. It’s distracting to everyone around you. If you just absolutely have to get up, leave when there is a break for applause or a blackout, that way it doesn’t hinder from the experience of others.

Most of the etiquette rules for a theatrical production are about being considerate to those around you and those on stage. We all paid big bucks to see these productions and we want to enjoy it without the distractions of the real world.