Theater Etiquette for Dummies & One of the Grossest Offenses of All

theater etiquette

Yesterday I mentioned I was excited it was Friday and one of the reasons was because I attended opening night of our community theater’s production of Hello, Dolly!. It is my husband’s fourth play with this particular theater and I love to support him (and all the actors) on stage. I especially love it when I can attend a show with my two sons. Paul and all the performers rehearse several hours a day for many weeks in order to bring an amazing show to every audience that enters the opera house. I don’t think a lot of people realize and recognize just how challenging live theater is for the actors. There aren’t any retakes of scenes during a performance, there’s no turning back if there’s a wardrobe malfunction, and if one actor misses a line or a cue it can impact an entire scene. My husband is really good at what he does and I think it’s because he loves it so much and is passionate about performing. Every time he steps on stage I can’t take my eyes off him and I’m in awe of his ability to remember lines and choreography all while acting in front of a live audience.

Good Theater Etiquette is Still a Thing, Right?

While I don’t ever see myself performing on a stage I can still appreciate and respect all of the hard work that goes into putting a play together beyond the final product we see on opening night. Besides the fact it costs around twice the amount of a trip to the movie theater you’re pretty much sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with other patrons so consideration for the actors and for fellow theater-goers should always be a top priority. That’s why I get really annoyed, okay borderline angry, when people are disrespectful during a show.  It happened last night and there was more than one occasion I almost schooled a few people in decent human behavior, but of course I was focused on my husband while being considerate of the performers and those sitting near me.

Seriously, if you’re attending a Broadway show or a community theater performance you should know and follow some basic etiquette. If you can’t or aren’t willing then please do the rest of us a favor and just stay home. Here are some things I witnessed last night that I’m honestly a little surprised I have to bring up as bad theater behavior.

  1. The woman in front of me was sending a text message with her phone held up in front of her face. No, no, no. Even if it’s an emergency and you need to send a message then step out of the theater. Again, we should all know better, right?
  2. Of all the offenses I saw last night this next one is most definitely the grossest. The young lady behind me (not a small child, but probably around 20) was sitting with her legs crossed and her BARE feet on the seat. I’m not sure how she was raised, but I’m pretty confident you don’t have to be Emily Post to know this is wrong on so many levels.
  3. Sitting next to the sweet young lady with her dirty feet on the theater seat was her friend who was seated directly behind me. I spent much of the show waiting for the next time she would KICK the back of my chair. Again, not a small child, which isn’t any more acceptable, but a grown woman. There was a comfortable amount of space in the rows, so it’s really easy to avoid hitting the seat of the person in front of you. It’s also common courtesy. Or at least I thought it was.
  4. Oh, those girls. Those, sweet, inconsiderate, rude girls were actually a group of three and we were so very lucky to have them sitting behind us because guess what else they kept doing throughout the entire play? Whispering, that’s what. I turned and gave them a stern look a couple of times, but I guess I’m just an old annoyed lady whose opinion means nothing.

A part of me wanted to have a nice little chat with them at the end of the show regarding their behavior, but I have a feeling they would have looked at me wide-eyed and gasped at my dramatically absurd lesson in manners. I’m sure I’m totally wrong about all this and that most people believe it’s okay to behave like hooligans at the theater.

Maybe next time I’ll have a glass of wine (or three) before the show and during intermission. It will relax me or make me a little more honest, but either way nobody is going to interfere with my ability to enjoy the play.






  1. jack william says

    Well, I am kind of impressed that you have shown me don’t know about others from a different angle. Very insightful will definitely keep in mind all your stuff whenever I attend one of these theatre programs. In the mean Cathy I think you should work with your PPC Marketing nearby as you have got writing skills and all you need is an ideal light to become a popular writer.

  2. Harry Jkevin says

    I watched several shows in theaters before last Friday. I thought this was boring. But last ,Friday I watched a fantastic theater show named “Kill the Men with Love”. That show was absolutely amazing. Due to this, I also could not complete my university assignment, so I asked my friend to Help With My Assignment. But now I love to watch theater shows.

  3. It is important to understand theater etiquette environment to feel comfortable. Most of the people notice the technology the glaring glare of phones, which ruins the immersive experience, In the same way Japan’S Technological Advancements skillfully combines tradition and modernity, let’s harmonize tech respect and theater decorum. Put away your phone, enter the immersive environment, and enjoy the show.

  4. Elaine Danvers says

    Completely relate to your theater frustrations! Basic etiquette seems forgotten. From texting distractions to bare feet on seats, it’s disheartening. Your commitment to enjoying the play despite disruptions is admirable. Just as we value courtesy in theaters, it’s crucial in professional settings. In Austin, for those aiming to make an impact with their resumes, the expertise of Austin resume writers ensures a standout professional presence. Cheers to upholding civility both on and off the stage!

  5. As a student of mba dissertation help uk. I’m finding Theater Etiquette for Dummies. I’m not sure if that is true or not. but some ideas or rules to share with this post.
    1: Talking is prohibited unless the performers specifically ask for audience participation. Whisper everything you need to say quickly.
    2: Maintain proper posture.
    3: Take off your hats.
    4: Sounds off.
    5: Turn off the lights.
    6: Pop, crackle, and snap.
    7: Restrict your coughing.
    8: Steer clear of additional noises that can annoy nearby residents as well as the performers.

  6. Understanding theater etiquette is crucial for an enjoyable experience. However, one of the grossest offenses is being disruptive during performances. For a seamless theater outing, follow basic manners. And when it comes to crafting your professional narrative, seek top-notch resume writing services Mississauga for standout career documents.

  7. Mishaal Khalid says

    Theater Etiquette for Dummies: Learn the dos and don’ts of theater behavior to ensure an enjoyable experience for all. With the best essay writing services in Dubai, delve into the nuances of audience conduct and explore how it contributes to the overall theater ambiance.

  8. Lori Harper says

    Theater Etiquette for Dummies offers a concise guide to navigating the world of live performances with grace and respect. However, one offense that remains universally frowned upon is disruptive behavior, akin to driving a clunker on stage. Remember, just as we buy any car new jersey, theaters admit any audience member, but courtesy is the fuel that keeps the show running smoothly

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