Whether it’s a favorite symphony, opera or ballet, a trip to the theatre is an excellent treat for the holidays. As you put on your evening attire, it may be time to brush up on your holiday theatre etiquette. Here are some tips to ensure that you and your fellow patrons enjoy the performance you’ve been waiting for all year:
- Dine before the performance. A growling stomach throughout the performance may keep you and your seatmates from enjoying the show. Eat a light snack or a full meal prior to arriving at the theatre door. You can concentrate on the performance rather than your hunger pangs.
- Dress appropriately. When deciding what to wear to an event like this, choose a smart outfit and a polished look. There’s no need to buy something new. Accessorize your favorite little black dress with a bold color, metallics, or interesting textures.
- Sit in the seat you paid for. Unless someone gave you a ticket in a better row or you paid for an unattended seat, it’s not yours for the evening. It would be embarrassing to have an usher request that you move back to your own row.
- Face those you are annoying. When crawling over fellow patrons, face them as you cross over them. Give a genuine smile and acknowledge the inconvenience by saying, “Please excuse me” or “Pardon me”.
- Turn off electronics. Everyone may have their ringers off, but digital devices remain a nuisance despite reminders. Avoid peeking at your cell phone or glancing down for a quick text as the screen light will illuminate around you. Save posting to Facebook, Instagram or any other social media until after the performance. Be aware that it’s prohibited to take a photo or video during performances.
- Respect the space and comfort of those around you. Keep personal items on your lap. Check your coat and larger items such as umbrellas in the cloak room so you don’t disrupt the view of your neighbors.
- Keep trash with you. Dispose of any wrappers or programs at the end of the show and in the correct designated area. Programs do not belong in the seat fold in front of you, and your glass or cup does not get stored underneath your seat.
- Be courteous while coughing or sneezing. Cover your mouth with a tissue or handkerchief. Avoid using your bare hand, and if you find you are caught with no options, excuse yourself to the privacy of the nearest restroom. Keep cough drops and a small package of tissue close at hand, even if you don’t think you’ll need them. They may be of use to a neighbor!
- Avoid talking during the show. A quick whisper to your neighbor or a brief reaction to something on stage is fine but reserve longer conversations for intermission. Asking your companion to explain what was just said onstage will cause you both to miss something important.
- Don’t be disruptive. The only thing ruder than a cell phone going off mid performance is a fellow theatre-goer chastising you publicly when it does. Please be courteous to those you are seated near, even if their cell phone rages during Oh Holy Night. Consider that it may have been an innocent mistake.
- Depart gracefully. Leaving early from the show is extremely rude; the show is not over until the actors have taken their bows and have exited the stage. Use this time to observe the architecture or catch up with your date on what they thought of the performance. Enjoy the festive atmosphere and indulge in a little people watching as you wait your turn to exit your row.
Have a great time and enjoy the show!