We’ve all seen the short movie trailer that appears in every theatre just before the movie is about to start. You know, the one where the baby is crying and the audience member is chomping on their popcorn or talking loudly to their friend? This is a straightforward reminder to cease whatever we are doing so that we can focus our attention to the screen in front of us. What happens, though, when we are attending the live theatre or a professional ballet? There is a certain code of decorum that a spectator is also expected to follow. Respect is paramount and as such, we have devised a list of 8 essential guidelines we think should be adhered to.
1. Dress The Part. Select your style of dress based upon the nature of the event you are attending or if you have before or after performance plans. When in doubt be sure to ask someone who is attending or has attended a similar event. If you are a guest, you may ask your hosts for guidance.
2. Be Punctual. Allow for enough time to find parking, navigate crowds, use the restroom and find your seat.
3. Arriving Late. Stand in the back of theater and wait for natural break to enter. Scan the theatre for your seat to avoid stumbling over other patrons. Allow the appointed usher to seat you.
4. Taking a Seat. When entering a row full of people say “excuse me” and “thank you”. If you need to leave during a performance, repeat the process but whisper thanks and apologies. If you are being passed in a row, clear space by remaining seated and turning knees in the direction the person is moving, or stand and lean against back of your folded seat.
5. Applause. Ladies clap their hands by cupping their left hand slightly and hitting it with the fingers of their right hand. Gentlemen, hit the two hands together evenly. The standing ovation is the highest compliment possible and involves standing with the rest of the audience and clapping.
6. Cultural Performances. Clap when the conductor takes his place at the podium and when the concert is completed. Applause is expected after a solo and after each work listed on the program is completed.
7. Intermission. Avoid the general rush of returning to your seat by allowing for enough time to have a quick drink or snack and use the restroom.
8. Exiting. It is impolite to try to avoid the rush by leaving before the performance is finished. It is distracting to the performers and audience. Make sure to clean up your area, go with the flow, do not push, shove or demand to get ahead of the crowd.
Next week, Jennifer Brandt of Perfectly Disheveled, and I will be back with another informative video to share! In the meantime, have a terrific week and enjoy the show!!