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The best rules of etiquette in the theater

A successful theater experience requires respect for and from everyone involved in the production – from the performers to the backstage team to the audience. Regardless of the role, everyone has the same goal: to be transported into a common entertainment experience. But how do you make sure everyone approaches this goal with the same set of guidelines and expectations?

I went straight to the source to get inside information from those who were there: theater teachers.

I asked: What are the most important etiquette rules in theater for your students / audience?

Applause, applause, applause

If you find something humorous, laugh or applaud as appropriate. Performers feed on the energy of the audience. (Molly W.)

Always give enthusiastic applause. I tell students that we applaud the contribution of the performers, not necessarily the final product. (Tanya B.)

A bow is a performer’s way of thanking the audience, and applause is a way to thank the performers and the crew, so say “Thank you”! (Jenny O.)

Applaud the underprivileged. When things go wrong. When something didn’t work. The difference between theater and film is that it is human and real and you are part of it. (Chris R.)

Allow others to have genuine emotional responses: laugh, clap, cry – let the show touch your heart. (Kathryn D.)

Silence please

Don’t talk during the show. He is rude to your neighbors and distracts artists. (Molly W.)

Do not hit, chew or chew gum during a show. If you have any type of candy in the package that will make a noise, open it before the show starts. (Molly W.)

Energy in performance, no secondary conversations. (Kathryn D.)

No technology

Do not shoot any part of the show or use flash photos during a show. (Molly W.)

Turn off and set the phones aside. You can spend an hour or two without having to check notifications. (Shannon J.)

Respect the show

Don’t waste people’s time. Learn your lines, don’t be late for a performance. (Iasomie I.)

If it’s not yours, don’t touch it. (Alise A.)

It’s early. It’s late. (Suzette D.)

Don’t let your behavior stop anyone else from enjoying the show. (Laura D.)

Each moment will happen only once. Listen. Catch him. (Chris R.)

After working hard, have fun – it’s called a “game” for a reason. (HD)

Don’t wake up until the break or at the end of the show. (Caryn B.)

Everyone matters

Give thanks to everyone who contributes (technology, volunteers, parents). (Iasomie I.)

Be kind to those on stage – mistakes happen! (Alise A.)

Observe your crew / backstage technique. Nothing happens without them! (Sue K.)

Be generous. The theater lives up to the audience. Young performers learn in their full vision. Those who support it make performance possible. The public is part of the company. (Chris R.)

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