Electronics Turned Off!!
Be sure to TURN OFF all electronic devices (cell phones, beepers, pagers, and watch alarms) when you enter the theater. Do not put your phone on vibrate as this can be heard by the people sitting next to you. DO NOT send any text messages, use the Internet, engage in social media, play games, or make calls during a performance. The glow from your electronic device is very distracting and annoying to others. Turn cell phones OFF and put them away while you are in the theater!
What Will I Wear?
You will plan and select what clothes you will wear because this is a “special” occasion. You may choose to dress up or you may decide to wear smart and casual attire. Just remember . . . this is a unique experience for you and your family, so be neat and dress with respect. Use perfume sparingly to prevent breathing concerns among patrons with allergies or sensitivities. You do not want to offend anyone with strong odors. Refrain from wearing hats or anything that may block the view of others around you.
Plan to arrive at the theater at least thirty minutes before the production begins. This thirty-minute cushion will be helpful in case you get stuck in traffic or have difficulty finding a place to park. Be punctual and arrive on time so that you are not rushed! You will want to have adequate time to quietly find your seats (in case an usher does not seat you), visit the restroom, and read your program. When the overture, or introductory music, starts . . . the show has begun. Please cease all talking at this point. Now is the time to sit, listen, and watch, unless invited to do otherwise.
Many times an usher will seat you, but if not you will have to find your assigned seat. Remember to sit straight in your chair because leaning to the side may block the view of those sitting behind you. Being assigned a specific seat eliminates any confusion. Always sit properly in your chair with your feet on the floor and not on the chair in front of you. Do not put your feet in the seat of your chair because you should be using your best manners. Do NOT put your feet on the banister railings or lean over them if you are seated in the balcony. Usually booster seats are available on a first come, first served basis so ask an usher if one is needed. If a member of your party has special needs, be sure to make this known when purchasing tickets so that they can be accommodated. Most theaters provide special seating for people with a visual or hearing impairment or those in a wheelchair.
Be sure to take care of personal needs (drinks of water or the use of the restroom) before the show starts. After the production has begun, you should not get up for any reason unless there is an emergency. If the performance is a lengthy one, there will be a break, or intermission, midway through the show. Be sure to wait until intermission before visiting the restroom again. Always conduct yourself as a lady or gentleman when going to and returning from the restroom facilities or lobby area. Polite behavior and good manners should always be used.
You are not allowed to take photos or videos during a play or production in the theater. Flash photography inside the theater is never permitted, as it is a distraction to those around you and a danger to the performers on stage. This is very annoying both to the actors as well as the audience. DO NOT take any pictures during a live performance at the theater!
When the curtain goes down, this indicates the end of an act (often followed by an intermission) or the end of the performance. Once the performance is over the actors will come on stage to take their bows and acknowledge the appreciation of the audience. You may stand and applaud if you feel led to do so to let the actors know that you appreciate their talent. If you are attending a musical performance, you may hear someone shout, “encore.” This is another form of high appreciation, and the performers may sing or perform another song, making it a special performance. Often at the conclusion the actors will point to the musical director and orchestra that are located in the pit. This gesture acknowledges the wonderful music the musicians have provided and the audience should applaud appropriately. Many times flowers are presented to the performers for a job well done.
Do not place your knees or feet in your chair or on the chair in front of you. This disturbs others and is considered poor manners if you sit improperly. If you have to cough, please remember to cover your mouth. If you have a cold, bring some tissues and throat lozenges but unwrap them before the show begins so you will not disturb others. Never correct other people no matter how strong the urge. The best way to teach good manners to others is for you to be a good example. Be sure to keep negative comments to yourself . . . these remarks can be discussed once you are out of the theater.
Exiting the Theater
Do not leave the theater until the show is completely finished. Once the actors have taken their final bows and the clapping has ceased, you will then exit the venue with pride and respect for everyone. Remember to save any negative comments that you may have for your ride home. These actors have worked hard and tried their best to entertain you. They deserve proper respect from an attentive audience.