What Is Theatre Etiquette?

In the wake of all of these stories about audience members taking their phones out, and having them be taken away by actors DURING the shows. We figured it would be a good idea if we let you know about some theatre etiquette. What it is, why we have it, and what rules you should really follow.

Theatre etiquette is much different than movie theater etiquette. Usually the audience is far more quiet during a theatre performance, due to the live actors and such. So I’m going to go over some do’s and don’ts of theatre etiquette (especially seeing how we have Guys & Dolls opening tonight!).

1. Turn Off Your Cellular Device
In all honesty I don’t really get why someone would pay quite a sum of money to go to a show just to be on their phones. That just doesn’t make sense to me, but who knows, some people just really like to play Candy Crush during a theatre performance. But really, the light from the cell phones can be really distracting to audience members, even turning down the brightness doesn’t help. People can still see the phone and the light from it. And if you don’t turn it off, then put it on silent, and keep it in your pocket, or keep it in your purse.

2. Don’t Text During A Show
This one obviously goes hand in hand with the last post. The brightness is distracting, the other audience members can see it, just don’t do it.

3. Don’t Eat During The Show
This is usually where movies and theatre performances differ. During movies it’s normal to eat and snack during the show, but during theatre performances this can be really annoying to your neighbors, and distracting. If you feel like you’re going to die from starvation then snacking on quiet snacks such as m&ms or skittles is acceptable, just as long as the wrapper isn’t making too much noise or anything. If you’re going to have cough drops or something, make sure you unwrap it before going into the theatre. It will save you time, and be much, much quieter.

4. If You’re Going To Cough, Please Cover Your Mouth
For some reason people these days believe that everyone is carrying a crippling disease. So not only should you cover your mouth for the sake of others getting sick, but you should also cover it because sometimes coughing can be rather loud, and distracting to other audience members.

5. Don’t Talk During The Show
Another quite obvious rule. It’s not bad if you say a couple words here and there to the person you came with, just make sure that you whisper them, and don’t scream it. But constant talking can be disruptive, and get on other audience member’s nerves quite quickly.

6. Don’t Sing Along
I know, I know, not singing along to your favorite musical can be one of the hardest things you do. But unfortunately even though your voice might be beautiful, the audience members didn’t pay to hear you sing a song from the show. They paid to hear the actors sing it. Rock out to the soundtrack in the car on the way to the show just to get it out.

7. You Don’t HAVE To Dress Up
You don’t have to dress up to come to a show. Technically you could come in shorts and sandals, although it is really nice when you dress up or look somewhat normal when attending a performance. 

8. Try Not To Fall Asleep
I know this can be hard for some people, it’s a dark theatre and usually cooler in the theatre so falling asleep can come easy to some people. If you feel yourself nodding off you can always leave during intermission, or just try not to snore.

9. Respect The Space Of Others
Some people like to come to a theatre and take up both arm rests, and sit spread eagle. Unfortunately not everyone likes to sit like that. Make sure you’re aware of the space of others as well as your own.

10. Come Clean
Last, but certainly not least, come to the show clean. Seeing as how we’re located in a tourist town many will go out and meander around Duluth during the day, and then come to a show. However, if it’s a hot day, and you sweat, or something, just go change clothes maybe, or spray on some body spray. In a theatre you sit kind of close to other people and they definitely don’t want to smell you. But also don’t go overboard on cologne, or perfume, because that can be too much as well.

Well there you go, if you already knew these rules, congratulations, and if you didn’t, congratulations you now know. All we’re asking is that you’re respectful of the actors, and other audience members during a show because there was a lot put into this performance and hopefully you will enjoy it.


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