23 February 2024

7 Rules of Theatre Audience Etiquette

A trip to the theatre is an incredibly inspiring and enjoyable experience. From murder mysteries and heart-warming plays to musicals and child-friendly productions, there’s so much to see. But there are, of course, rules and expectations to be aware of. Basic audience etiquette should be followed to ensure the actors aren’t disturbed and everyone can enjoy the show, so here are seven rules to keep in mind. 

1. Arrive on time 

Arriving on time is extremely important. This is because late arrivals can disrupt a whole row of people and block the view of people behind. Some productions don’t allow latecomers into the auditorium until an appropriate time in the performance, meaning you may even miss a chunk of the show. When planning a family day out, particularly with young children, be sure to leave plenty of time to reach the theatre and get everyone settled before the curtain rises. 

2. Come back from the interval on time

Most shows offer an interval which allows you to go to the toilet and buy any required refreshments. The interval tends to be around 15-20 minutes and you’ll be alerted several times when the show is about to start. Again, arriving late will disturb others who have already taken their seats and are watching the show.

3. Turn off your phone 

Don’t make or take phone calls during a theatre production. This is incredibly rude and won’t go down well with other audience members. If you’re expecting an emergency call, excuse yourself quickly and take it in the lobby or outside. Always silence your devices and make sure any alarms are cancelled. 

4. Keep quiet 

Laughing, clapping and cheering are all part of the theatre experience - especially during interactive family theatre shows. But make sure you do this at appropriate times. Don’t talk throughout the show or make any kind of unnecessary noise. Actors have worked hard to perfect their performances and they shouldn’t be distracted. 

5. Don’t take photos or record 

Most theatres prohibit the use of cameras and filming devices, so please respect this rule. As tempting as it might be, don’t try and take sneaky snaps as the flash on your phone or camera can be off-putting to those on stage. 

6. Don’t rattle packets 

Eating and drinking at the theatre is allowed. In fact, snacks can be purchased at the entrance of most theatres and many open a bar before the performance and during the interval. But if you or your kids are eating during the performance, try to avoid opening or rattling packets during quiet scenes or monologues. 

7. Stay seated and don’t fidget 

Many people stand up at the end of a show to give a standing ovation. This is fine and expected. Don’t stand up or fidget a lot during the production, however, as this could annoy both the people sitting next to you and behind you. If you’re taking kids that struggle to sit still, a family-oriented production is best as there’ll be plenty of interactive moments. If someone in your party has sensory needs, enquire with the theatre about special performances that will be tailored to them. 

When looking for ‘fun days out near me,’ why not consider a trip to the theatre. There’s so much to see both in London and on tour in the UK, and you can even enjoy a pre-theatre dinner or a spot of sightseeing. Book your tickets with KX Tickets today.