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Etiquette & Protocol

Etiquette for Attending Performances

Anyone who's attended a live dance or theatrical performance, or even a commencement ceremony lately has no doubt noticed that people treat such events as if they were at an athletic contest--talking out loud, shouting, eating, arriving late, using their phones, wandering in and out during the show. Not only are such behaviors distracting for other patrons, they are insulting to the performers. 

  • Arrive and be seated by ten minutes before curtain time.  If you arrive late, wait until a logical break in the performance to enter the auditorium.
  • Turn off your cell phone, no texting.
  • Don't take anything to eat or drink to your seats, including bottled water.
  • Don't open candies or anything else with rattly paper during the show.
  • Don't talk or whisper to your seatmates during the performance.
  • Refrain from extraneous applause-it disrupts the flow of the performance.
  • Leave small children at home. If you bring children, be prepared to take a restless child or crying baby out immediately.
  • No flash photography.
  • Keep your feet on the floor, off the seats in front of you.
  • Return from intermission when the first notice is given.
  • When you leave your seats, slide down the row with your back to others in the row. If you are seated and a person needs to exit the row, slide both of your legs to one side to make room for the person to pass without tripping or having to crawl over you.
  • Don't whistle or shout. "Bravo," is the traditional spoken way to show exceptional satisfaction. Standing ovations are reserved for extraordinary performances, to give them for every performance diminishes the meaning of the gesture.
  • If you have a cough, stay home. If a sudden coughing attack happens, exit the auditorium immediately.