Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Theater Etiquette

As a huge theatregoer, what's the worse thing that can happen to you? (Besides losing your tickets or the show closing!)

It, of course, is when a fellow audience member is so distracting you can't enjoy yourself at the show.

In my case, it was my most recent trip to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. As a huge Broadway and Harry Potter fan, I had been waiting for months to see the show. Not only that, but I also had spent a lot of money to see the show as well.

Although I am a complete believer that children should be exposed to the arts, I think the fact that there is an age limit for Broadway theatres is an important thing to be aware of if you have children. I won't get into too many details of the negative experience, but the person who affected my time at the theatre was a child, and wasn't able to be respectful of the other patron in the theatre.

When another audience member is so distracting that you can't enjoy yourself at the show, it is unacceptable.

Here's a few top tips on theatre etiquette:

  1. Be mindful of those around you.
    Don't rustle your snacks too loudly. Please don't talk to your neighbor. Be sure to turn off your cell phone AND smart watches. And no matter how much you love the show, PLEASE do not sing along. Patrons are there to see the actors perform, not you.
  2. Be on time.
    This is the cardinal rule of seeing a Broadway show. Some theatres have very strict guidelines about being late, and some won't let you into the show until a few minutes into the show or even at intermission. However, in many shows after the first overture you're permitted to go in. It can be distracting, so do your best to be on time.
  3. If you're taking children to see the show, go over the theatre rules with them!
    Bringing kids to the theatre is such a fun experience! Make sure they're the right age to see a show, though. If they can't sit through a movie at the movie theatre, a Broadway show probably isn't the best choice for them. Fidgeting happens, even to us adults, but if your child is distracting other people during the show, as a parent you have a responsibility to the patrons around you to ensure their experience won't be ruined. 
  4. If you have to cough, cover your mouth.
    I get it, allergies exist! However, if you cough or sneeze during the show, please don't do it on the neck of the patron in front of you.
  5. Don't record the show or take pictures.
    Although this seems obvious, you'd be surprised how many people in an audience try to record a show or take pictures. I get it, you want to remember this incredible experience you're having at the show. But the magic of theatre is that it's a unique experience every time you see a live show. If you pull out your phone during a show, an usher will most likely swoop in on you with a beaming flashlight. It's distracting for the others around you, and very rude. Just enjoy the experience while you're there!
Have you ever had a negative audience experience at a Broadway show before? We'd love to hear it! 

Emily Stubbs
Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 W 46th Street
Ste 1107
New York, NY 10036
or 1-800-451-9930

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