Theater Etiquette 101: a First-timer’s Guide to Attending a Play

people seated at the theatre

Watching a live theater performance is something you might want to experience at least once in your life. However, you can expect it to be way different from watching a movie or film in a cinema.

While there are do’s and don’ts when watching in a cinema, there are also specific rules that theatergoers should follow. Nevertheless, watching a live Broadway performance in a performing arts theater in Minnesota should be an unforgettable and enjoyable one.

Theater etiquette 101

Unlike watching in a cinema, watching a live theater performance requires being suited up. It depends on the type of performance you are attending. Some do dress up to the nines, while some follow a smart casual dress code.

More than choosing the right attire, theatergoers should know basic etiquette when attending a live theater performance. Here are other things to consider as a first-time attendee:

1. Be punctual.

You need to be at least 10 minutes before the show starts. You are also required to sit in your assigned seat number when attending a live theater show. Some cinemas already do follow seat numbers for their patrons, but being late in a live theater show is a significant no-no.

2. Turn off your phone.

That pitchy ringtone and that annoying glowing screen coming from your phone can be distracting to a lot of theatergoers and even the performers. Do everyone a favor and put your phone in silent mode or turn it off while the play is ongoing.

3. Leave your kids at home.

Unless the theater show allows kids, you can bring them along. Otherwise, you would have to leave them with a guardian or relative at home. Admit it or not, young children can be unpredictable and even cause havoc inside the theater. Still, it won’t hurt to check a theater’s show’s suggested age limits before bringing children with you.

4. Don’t be a show spoiler.

There might be times that you have seen the play a couple of times. But stop yourself from singing along or worse, telling your companion what will happen next. Save your comments at the end of the show, not while the show is ongoing.

5. Relax and sit still.

happy friends watching movie in theater

As much as possible, do not fidget as it can be distracting to those seated near you. Make sure to go to the restroom before the show starts or during the intermission. If you have a cough, bring some cough drops with you. No one wants to hear you coughing while the show is ongoing. Better yet, you might have to skip the show until you are already fine.

Why it is a good idea to attend a theater play

One study conducted by researchers in the Department of Education Reform of the University of Arkansas found that watching live theater makes you appreciate literature more. Moreover, it enhances your knowledge, empathy, and tolerance in literature and even life in general.

It is also a pleasant experience to watch a live play and appreciate the actor’s performances. Most people do not realize how hard it is to perform in a live audience, remember their script, and sustain the tone and volume of their voices during an entire show. Knowing basic theater etiquette is a sign of respect for the performance and to other people who want to enjoy the show.