Let me start off by saying that attending live theatre and dance performances is an artistic, cultural, inspirational and overall wonderful experience that every person should do at least once in their lifetime. For me, it has been a privilege to attend and perform in a number such performances. It’s a time where you get to observe and take in the final product from hours upon hours of rehearsal. Performers give their time and energy for shows that can range from a week of shows to one night only.
That being said, audience members should have a degree of etiquette when going to see a live performance. This isn’t the movie theatre where the actors can’t hear you. If you’re disrespectful at a live performance, not only are you disturbing your fellow audience members, but also the performers onstage.
I was inspired to write this guide after an unfortunate encounter with a group of extremely disrespectful student talked, giggled and made inappropriate noises during a very serious and extremely well-done musical. This is for you guys to learn how to behave when going to the theatre.
Turn your phone off.
You heard me. Snapchatting your friend can wait until intermission or after the show. The bright screen, no matter how low you set the brightness, will distract other audience members from the action happening onstage as well as the performers. As someone who has performed before, I can testify that we can see you from the stage and yes, it’s not only distracting but offensive that you find texting more interesting than the show that we worked so hard on.
Don’t have a conversation.
I don’t think I can think of anything more infuriating than people who whisper during the whole performance. Pro-tip: nobody cares to hear your conversation. We came to experience art. Not listen to you talk. So do us all a favor and don’t speak. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t react to the show! Laughing and applauding during appropriate times is more than welcomed!!
For the love of all things holy, don’t eat, drink or chew gum.
Nobody wants to hear chewing or wrappers crumpling. Also, it’s disrespectful to the theatre and the house manager. Now, some theatres do allow food and beverage and if that’s the case, then go for it! If not, take it to the lobby.
Don’t show up drunk or under the influence of drugs.
This is a no-brainer and honestly, I can’t believe I’m writing this but we’ve had people show up inebriated to shows. It’s flat out rude.
Keep the critiques to yourself.
You never know who you’re sitting next to. For all you know, it could be a performer’s mother. Positive things only!
Once you know the basic etiquette of going to live performances, the experience becomes more powerful for you, your fellow audience members and the cast and crew of the show.