Theatre Etiquette // The Do's & Don'ts of the Theatre Experience //

Theatre Etiquette // Do's & Don'ts of the Theatre Experience //

Recently, I attended a performance at a theatre and was reminded of some of my pet peeves. I am a firm believer in respecting the performance and performers of a live show. It is tough to perform in front of people you do not know and give a performance that everyone will like. On top of that, it is difficult to remember all your lines, choreography, and wardrobe changes (if applicable). Being a performer myself, we all appreciate a certain level of respect. Today I am going to share with you a few Do’s and Don’ts of theatre etiquette.

DO – Dress Appropriately 

This is something I see a lot of people doing on a consistent basis. If you are attending an evening show, women should dress appropriately. The dress should provide full and flattering coverage for your body. Remember, you are not the show.

If you attend a show in New York, wear a dress that is more formal, just below the knees is more flattering. Men, wear khakis and a nice polo or preferably an Oxford-style button down, that is tucked in, along with a belt, and dress shoes. Again, if you are attending a show in New York you should definitely wear at least khakis and a button down or possibly a suit. Also, NO HATS! Hats are highly frowned upon.

DON’T – Cat Call

In recent years cat calling has become a “thing”. This is disruptive to the performers and other theatre goers. If an audience member is incredibly loud, it can cause the performer to miss a cue, cover a witty line or joke, and leave an awkward pause for performer and audience members alike.


Theatre Etiquette // Do's & Don'ts of the Theatre Experience //


DO – Turn Off Your Phone

Please show respect to the performers and those around by putting your phone away. Everyone else has paid good money for their ticket. Your social media can wait until after the show.

DON’T – Eat Food Or Drink During The Performance

It is very distracting to sit next to someone who is constantly eating or drinking during the performance. The act is not only disruptive to those around you but also to the performers. Please take care of those things before the show or during intermission. Also, you would not want to risk spilling wine on the person next to you. They will NOT be happy.

Side Note: Some newer theatres have drink holders at your seat. In this case, just be aware of how many times you are reaching for your drink and be very careful to avoid spills.

DO – Arrive On Time

If you show up to a performance after the curtain has gone up, you will not be admitted to your seat until intermission or after the first act. (Pending that theatre observes that rule) Personally, I think it is a massive disruption if people are admitted to their seats after the show has begun. To those who have paid for their ticket and want the best viewing of a show possible. Make sure you budget PLENTY of time so you can arrive early to the theatre. Better to be early than late.

I recently read an article in the Huffington Post where the author felt it was unfair to tell people what they can and cannot wear to the theatre. I understand that some people really do not care what other people wear. But in my opinion, it is sign of respect to the performers, theatre, and tradition. I do believe that tradition should be upheld and continued throughout the generations. Teaching the next generation how to be respectful toward this art form, and any art for that matter, is important.

Attending a live performance is not cheap. Remember to be kind and respectful to those around you as well as the performers. That way everyone is able to enjoy their evening and the company of those around them.


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