What You Need To Know About Theater Etiquette Before Attending A Show

Going to the theater Etiquette for first-timers can be a thrilling experience, but even some veteran audience members may need a reminder of the dos and don’ts of theater. We have put together a few insider tips on proper theater etiquette.

theater etiquette before attending a show 

Arrive on Time

The first theater etiquette is don’t be late. You don’t want to arrive late for a Broadway play because unlike on-demand entertainment, musicals, and plays have an unmovable start time. If you’re late, you will have to wait until an appropriate break to take your seat.

Sometimes that may not be until the intermission, and if the show is one act, you might miss it altogether! Triple-check the performance’s start time and try to arrive early. Most Broadway houses open their doors 30 minutes before a show starts.

Don’t Bring Baggage

Second theater etiquette is don’t bring baggage with you. You need to leave large bags at your home or in your hotel room. While modern theaters may have a little more space, older venues are often very tight. Be aware that most theaters will not let you bring a suitcase or large bag into the venue.

In colder weather, take advantage of the coat check, but be prepared to wait in line to retrieve it after the show. If you don’t want to bring a coat in with you, keep it in your lap or underneath your seat. Don’t hang it off the back of your chair, it could interfere with other audience members.

Use the Restroom Wisely

Third theater etiquette is to try to take care of business prior to arriving at your show or before it begins. Trust us, you don’t want to wait in the bathroom line during intermissions or climb over your seatmates during the show.

Turn Off Your Phone

Fourth theater etiquette is to turn off your phone while it may be tempting to share the show with friends or family on your phone, many theaters encourage you to check in or post about the show prior to or after it ends. Never take out your phone during the actual performance, it’s distracting and inconsiderate to those around you. Save yourself from any phone disasters and turn it off before it begins.

Don’t Take Pictures

Recording or photographing a professional production is illegal. You can be ejected from the theater and asked to delete the files or hand over your device. It’s better to just keep your phone dark, silent, and out of site.

Enjoy Your Snacks Quietly

Everyone loves enjoying a snack at a show, many theaters have become more lenient about bringing concessions to your seat. Remember, that all packaging crinkles, crackles, and crunches loudly in a quiet theater. Try to nibble quietly, and don’t bring in outside food to the theater. Make sure you eat prior to entering the show.

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Leave the Action Onstage

If the lead actor is singing your favorite song, resist the urge to sing along. Theaters are intimate spaces and even the smallest disturbance can ruin the mood that the cast worked so hard to create.

Visit the Stage Door

One of the best parts about seeing live theater is being able to tell the actors how much you enjoyed their performances. If you’re not sure where the stage door is located, an usher will direct you. Theaters often set up barriers on the sidewalk to ensure the crew and cast leave the stage door safely.

These are a few of the Do’s and Don’ts of going to see a Broadway or live-action show. If you haven’t bought tickets for your next show, don’t wait! You can easily find tickets for Broadway shows.


In conclusion, we hope that these tips are useful to you and will help you enjoy your first or next show you see.

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