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Theatre Etiquette 101

Theatre Etiquette 101

The Grand Theatre invites you to enjoy this short film entitled “The Family of the Opera.” In this film you will meet two families who are attending a local theatre event. The Norman family sets a good example of proper theatre etiquette while the Spitchaw family has a lot to learn! Afterwards, discuss how each family exhibits good or bad theatre etiquette. This film addresses these Georgia State Performance Objectives:

Grades K-5

Kindergarten TAESK.11, 1st Grade TAES1.10, 2nd Grade TAES2.11, 3rd Grade TAES3.11, 4th Grade TAES4.11, 5th Grade TAES5.11

Engaging actively and appropriately as an audience member in theatre:
1. Participates as audience
2. Identifies the basic elements of theatre etiquette.

Grades 6-12

6th Grade TAMS6.11, 7th Grade TAMS7.11, 8th Grade TAMS8.11, TAHSFTI.11

Engaging actively and appropriately as an audience member in theatre:
1. Models appropriate audience behaviors
2. Analyzes the relationship between an audience and a performer
3. Creates guidelines for behavior appropriate to a theatre experience

Basic Theatre Etiquette

Show common courtesy; be respectful. Arrive early, or on-time. If you arrive late, you may not be seated. Besides, it is a distraction for both the performers and the audience when late-comers are permitted in. Go to the restroom before you sit down, or at the intermission, not during the performance. It will not only be disruptive to persons seated in your row and the rows around you, but also to the actors on the stage.

Be quiet! Do not speak, whisper, crinkle your program, and gentlemen, always remove your hat. Laughing and applauding are acceptable at appropriate times. Save conversations for the intermission or after the show is over. . Do not sing along. Unless asked to sing along by the actors on the stage, refrain from singing, humming, or whistling the tunes you hear. No cameras/photography or recording devices! This is against copyright law, and besides, the flashes are distracting to the performers as well as the audience. Turn OFF your cell phone! Surprisingly, this is still quite an issue. Really, it shouldn’t be. It’s rude; common sense is all it takes. Do not eat or drink inside the theatre! This is a distraction, once again, not to mention messy. Do not put your feet on the seats in front of you. Do not walk over or on the seats. Stay seated. It is important that you stay seated until the end of the performance, including the curtain call. It is an extreme sign of disrespect to the performers for someone to exit before the show is over. If you are ill and must leave, do so quietly, and if at all possible, wait until an appropriate moment.

Know whether or not to bring your young child. As much of a problem as this is in film theatres, it’s especially crucial in stage theatres, because a) the performance is live and the performers can be distracted, and b) tickets to stage shows are not cheap. Most stage musicals are not meant for children, however, not because of content. Children tend to be fidgety, have difficulty staying quiet, seated, and still for lengths of time. There are special shows that are just-for-children, such as performances of fairy-tale stories.

How Young is Too Young?

Children under the age of 4 or 5 would not be advised to see a majority of stage shows. When considering taking a child to the theatre, always take into consideration these factors: Length: Stage shows often run over 2 hours, with a 15 minute intermission. Can your child sit still this long, without crying or fussing, and therefore ruining the enjoyment for others? Content, Themes, & Bore Factors: Though many shows such as Little Women and The Lion King are tame, these may still be unsuitable for youngsters. Though Little Women may contain no violence, swearing, or innuendo, the story would most likely bore a very young child who cannot understand the plot. The Lion King contains creative violence, the same as in the film, but it can be scary portrayed on the stage. Crying children can take away from the enjoyment for other theatre patrons.

If you child is under the age of 5, it would be advisable that you stick to letting them watch film musicals (which can be paused or stopped) or stage shows that are geared toward their ages, such as matinee shows specifically for younger children.