Theater Etiquette

Below are some helpful tips on theater etiquette.

Turn off all distractions and enjoy the show. Cell phones, tablets, pagers, alarms and other electronic equipment should be turned off or set to silent (not vibrate) just before the performance begins.

Texting during a performance is a bad manners. You may think you're being sneaky, but in a darkened theater, the light from your cell phone or tablet screen is incredibly distracting to those around you (as well as the performers in some cases).

Please eat before the show, not during. Remember, this is a live performance. Unlike a movie, the dialog and music can often be very soft and any noise in the audience (including polite chewing) can be heard.

But it’s not my fault I’m late, traffic was horrible. Even if you tried your best to be on time and are only a few minutes late, you may need to remain in the lobby for a little while. Sometimes, we may need to move you to another area of the theater where you can be safely seated while the performance continues.

Cough, Cough, Crinkle, Crinkle! Every now and then we all get a cough or tickle in our throat. Please make sure to unwrap any cough drops, lozenges or hard candies before the performance begins.

But it’s my favorite song! Please remember that others paid money to see perform the number. Please don’t sing or hum along with the performance (unless encouraged by the artist).

I can’t believe what she said! We know it is tempting to explain the show to your friend or share a reaction to something happening on stage, but we ask you to limit the commentary to intermission and post-performance conversations.

Respect the comfort of those around you. Be a good seat neighbor and take care not to lean into your neighbor, take the entire armrest, hang your coat over your seat so that it is in someone else’s lap or intrudes on other patrons’ leg room.

Do I clap now? For many shows when to clap will be obvious, but for certain types of shows like symphonies and ballets, it can be confusing. Classical music works will often have several movements per section. Traditionally, audiences only applaud when the work is finished, not after each movement. Alternately, at the ballet is it common to applaud when the conductor makes his entrance and sometimes after solos and pas de deux, as well as during the traditional bows at the end of the performance. When in doubt, err on the side of not clapping until you see others begin.

What should I wear? There is no official dress code at our venues. Most patrons dress in business office or dressy-casual attire. However, you will likely see people wearing anything from jeans and T-shirts to formalwear.

The set is so pretty, I must have a picture! Most of the time, you may take pictures in the lobbies of all theaters. However, due to copyright laws, there is no picture taking or video recording allowed inside the theaters during a performance.