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Theatre Etiquette

It’s never to early to learn good audience manners.
Below is a list of DOs and DON’Ts for audiences of ALL ages...

BE ON TIME. Allow yourself plenty of time. The theatre lobby is accessible to patrons one hour before the show; while the theatre house doors open 30 minutes prior to curtain.

DRESS TO IMPRESS. There is no official dress code to attend a show, but a trip to the theatre can be a special occasion, so feel free to dress the part. (Side note: Theatres can be cold, so you may wish to bring a sweater.)

GO EASY with the atomizer; many people are highly allergic to perfume, aftershave and cologne.

USE THE RESTROOM BEFORE the performance. (GO NOW!) Once the show begins, stay seated unless absolutely necessary.

UNWRAP any candies or cough drops before the performance. If you MUST unwrap something during the show, do so quickly. Slow may seem polite, but only prolongs the agony.

TURN CELLPHONES & DEVICES OFF. Don’t text during a performance. Even if your phone is on silent, the light from the screen is very distracting.

NO PHOTOGRAPHY or recording is permitted during the performance. It’s unlawful and distracting to the performers.

THE OVERTURE in a musical is part of the performance. Please cease talking, e-mailing and texting at this point.

THOU SHALT NOT TALK, or hum, or sing along...or beat time with a body part. Laughter and cheers, on the other hand, are music to an actor’s ears!

IF YOU’RE HAPPY & YOU KNOW IT, CLAP YOUR HANDS! It is polite to applaud at the end of scenes (blackouts often cue applause) and songs. It’s also customary to applaud from the beginning to the end of the curtain call/bows.

KEEP YOUR COMMENTS NEUTRAL OR POSITIVE. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Still, we recommend that while inside (and very close to) the theatre, you keep commentary in neutral-to-positive territory. You never know what director or actor’s mom is sitting nearby.

STAY until the end. Yes, the parking lot gets busy, but leaving while the show is in progress is discourteous to audience and performers alike. Plus, by leaving early, you may miss something special.

SAY HI! At most Youtheatre productions, cast members assemble in costume in the lobby following the performance. So whether you want to congratulate an actor or snap a selfie with your favorite character, stay and do so!

THE OLD STANDBY: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Unlike the actors on your TV, these actors can see and hear you. Unlike your family at home, this audience paid to be here. Be respectful.


House: The part of the theatre where audience sits. (“The house is open” means that attendees are allowed inside.)
Ushers/House Staff: These are the nice people who take your tickets, help find seats and answer your questions.

Balcony: A higher tier of seating.
Curtain: You all know what a curtain is, but “curtain” call also refer to a show’s start time.
Intermission: Theatre’s version of halftime. Most Youtheatre shows are performed in one act without intermission, but some have a 10 to 15-minute intermission. Curtain Call: This is when you get to show your appreciation to the cast by applauding as they bow at the end of the show. (It is generally considered polite to applaud from the start of the curtain call all the way to the end, but feel free to clap EXTRA hard for your favorites!)

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