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In Do, March 2019 by Raleigh MagazineLeave a Comment

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An evening at the theatre calls for a measure of decorum and your undivided attention. Actors have worked long and hard to create a compelling performance for theatre-goers, and it’s unfortunate when that work is ruined by someone’s ringing phone or chitter-chatter. While most of us know how to behave, a gentle refresher on theatre etiquette is never amiss, especially as show season kicks off in earnest. We asked Danni Dichito, sales and marketing manager for the North Carolina Theatre, and Brent Simpson, marketing director for Theatre in the Park, to weigh in on what they feel are the must crucial rules of theatre-going.

1. Arrive early

“Nothing annoys me more than attending a show when ushers have to bring people in late,” Simpson says. It’s important to get to the show on time, as, in some theatres, the ushers won’t seat you until the intermission, meaning you’ll miss the first half. Additionally, arriving before the show begins gives you time to park and find your seat.

2. Use the restroom before the show

Arriving early also allows you to visit the restroom before the show begins. The last thing you want is to miss something important because you’re in the bathroom, and getting up during the performance can be annoying to the people around you; they’ll have to stand up to let you out, or you’ll block their view. Remember, they bought tickets, too. 

3. Turn off your phone

Yes, turn your phone off. Don’t just put it on vibrate or silent. Any sound or bright light can be distracting for both the performers and the people seated around you. “Seriously, just power it down,” says Simpson. “It can wait ’til intermission.” Furthermore, taking photographs during a show isn’t allowed in most theatres, so you definitely don’t need to keep your phone on for that reason.

4. Be quiet

Cut off all conversation once the show begins. “As hard as it may be, refrain from singing along during musical numbers,” says Dichito. Audience members are paying to hear the performers sing, not you. Also, avoid unwrapping snacks with wrappers, says Simpson. If you’re going to eat, be considerate and have your snacks ready before the show starts.

5. Clap and stay until curtain call

Stay quiet during the show and save your appreciation for afterwards by giving the cast and crew a hearty round of applause. “Even if you didn’t particularly enjoy the show, it’s polite to clap and acknowledge the hard work that went into the performance,” says Dichito. While it’s fine to skip the credits at the end of a movie, staying for curtain call, when all the performers come out and bow, is expected of audience members. So don’t try to dip out early to avoid parking lot traffic; it’s just plain rude.

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