Theatre Rules and Etiquette

The theatre is a place where many people gather together to enjoy live performances. It is important to remember that theatre is an active experience. The actors want the audience to be responsive to what is happening on stage by laughing, clapping and truly enjoying the experience of live theatre. However, because live theatre is interactive and the performers can be distracted by disruptions from the audience, there are a few things to consider when watching any live performance. Students and teachers should be reminded of these simple ground rules before any performance at your school.

Cell Phones: Anything that beeps, buzzes or chimes needs to be turned off completely. The light your phone creates when texting is often just as distracting so it is best to turn your phone off, rather than just muting it.

Photos/Videos: While it is true that flash photography is distracting, it is also important to know that it is not legal to record or photograph a professional production in any way due to design/copyright and performers' union regulations. Please do not take photos or videos of the performance at your school.

Food and Drink: Please do not bring any food to the performance. It can be distracting in terms of both sound and smell for the actors and your fellow audience members.

Talking: It is never okay to talk during a show. It is appropriate to laugh when things are funny, gasp when things are shocking and, most definitely, to show your appreciation to the performers by applauding when the play has finished. The sounds we make naturally when we are really listening to a story are great. The sounds we make when we stop listening should be saved for after the show.

Remain Seated: Students and teachers should remain seated during the performance. No one should be allowed to leave the auditorium during the performance unless it is absolutely necessary. When, and if it is really necessary, leaving the performance space should be done as quietly and politely as possible. Exit doors which are often very noisy should be opened and shut carefully so as not to disturb others. Students need to be supervised during the performance. Please seat teachers in a position where they can respond quickly to disturbances that might arise. Please quietly remove disruptive students that continue to act up, call out or disturb others during a performance.

Enhance your experience! Ask students to prepare one question to ask the actors after the show during the Q&A. Brainstorm possible topics to get the most out of the experience!