Brushing up on theater etiquette

Whether this is your first trip to the theater or just your first this season, here are a few tips about theater etiquette that will help you prepare to enjoy the live performing arts!
Before you arrive – plan ahead!
Do your research on the show to make sure you’ll love it, purchase tickets from a safe source and provide your email upon purchase to receive important updates including a reminder of security and parking the week of your performance. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive, park, and go through security; some shows require latecomers to be held in the lobby until an appropriate break in the show.
But how early should I arrive?
Doors open one hour prior to the performance and the theater opens approximately 30 minutes before showtime, so anytime in that window is great and depends on where you’re coming from, what the weather is like and if you want to enjoy a drink or snack before the show!
In fact, it’s polite to snack before the show.
Remember that there are many people around you and in a theater setting smells and noises can distract you or those around you. It’s best to snack before the show or wait until intermission. If you need cough drops or hard candies, it’s polite to unwrap them before the lights go down.
Part of the fun of theater is escaping distraction
Be sure to silence and stow away your electronics. Vibrating noises or a blinking notification can just as easily distract you from the show you waited so long to see. So be sure it’s off or silent and if you must check in, text your friend or provide a social media update for all of your followers, wait for intermission.
No photos in the theater.
Take all of your photos in the lobby! Once you get into the theater, copyright laws on set design, including curtains and lighting, make taking photos a big etiquette faux-pas.
Leave the performing to the professionals
We know it’s your favorite song and it’s hard not to sing or hum along, but remember that others in the theater have come to the show to hear it too. Unless an artist specifically requests your participation, it’s best to leave it to the professionals and have your own concert in the car on the way home.
When is the best time to clap?
For most performances you will be able to feel the room when it’s time to applaud, or even watch as performers pause on stage. When it’s less obvious, like in classical music performances that contain several movements, or in dance programs where pieces often have multiple parts, it’s best to wait to clap and follow those around you.
When is the best time to talk about the show?
At intermission or after it’s over. Others around you can hear your whispers and it may distract them.
How can I be a good seat neighbor?
Theater seats can feel close together. Take simple steps like avoiding strong scents, removing your cap, and checking your coat or folding it neatly on your lap to help give those around you a great experience.
Have more questions?
Call our ticket office at (920) 730-3760 during business hours and we’ll be happy to answer them!
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