A Northerners guide to Theatre Etiquette

by Footlights Team on January 18, 2019

I am writing this blog after a recent experience at The Globe Theatre watching an awe inspiring, slick, professional production of "Doctor Faustus" (Review to follow!) Whilst in London, I came across a newspaper article entitled "A Londoners Guide to Theatre Etiquette" which provided a humorous insight into the do's and don'ts of visiting the theatre. I was wowed by some peoples tales of unprofessional mishaps, even customers texting/answering calls on the front row of productions in the West End, but then I thought; maybe people really aren't sure of what is and isn't acceptable!

I therefore thought about writing this blog post for our customers to outline what is expected of you when attending a performance. 

As a child, going to the theatre was always seen as a huge treat and I would usually be rewarded for good behavior/good dance results with a trip to watch a show. We would wear our best clothes and use our very best manners whilst attending. It is only recently in the past few years that I have noticed a real decline in this attitude; not just towards the experience itself but also towards behavior whilst in the theatre itself. 

Therefore, we have outlined 10 GOLDEN RULES of the theatre for you below. Enjoy!


  1.  Visit the toilets before the performance or during the interval. We of course understand that sometimes this is impossible if attending with children or those with illnesses pertaining to this, but wherever possible, try to go to the toilet before those around you get too comfy in their seats to avoid disturbing others.
  2. If you need to talk during the show, please whisper. The actors are the only ones who should be heard during a performance (unless of course you are attending Pantomime!)
  3. No pictures or videos during the show. This is the most commonly misunderstood problem in theatre for most. Many years ago, this was not an issue, due to many devices having not been invented yet! However, these days, everyone seems to have a smart phone or iPad and it is not encouraged that you photograph or record the show unless you have been informed otherwise. This is usually a legal requirement, especially if there are children involved in a production. 
  4. Keep feet off railings or seats. Another self explanatory point. Many people will have to sit in chairs/touch railings around you so please keep these areas clean by keeping muddy shoes away from them!
  5. Turn off all media devices when you enter the theatre. Not only does this stop the temptation of snapping a few photos, the light and noise coming from these devices can be incredibly off putting for the actors and those around you. Remember that you have paid to see a performance and that to be fully invested in the show, the performers need your undivided attention.
  6. Put all rubbish into the bins provided. Another huge part of the running of a theatre is the front of house team. These staff members work tirelessly to ensure that you have a magical experience at the theatre, and their jobs are only made more difficult by having to clean up your mess. There is often a fast turnaround time between shows and having to spend hours between performances cleaning up mess and rubbish in the auditorium can be easily avoided if you take your rubbish with you at the end of the performance.
  7. Try not to rustle sweet papers/crisp packets during the show. Remember that those around you have also paid to enjoy the performance and loud noises can be very disturbing when trying to watch a show. 
  8. Arrive on time! This saves you the worry of missing any of the action or the embarrassment of being admitted late and disturbing everyone in your row! Remember that many theatres have a latecomers policy and that you will not be allowed to take your seat until an appropriate moment in the show.
  9. Teach children how to behave in the theatre. Theatre can be the most magical, rewarding experience, but for some children, sitting still for long periods of time can be difficult. It is therefore advisable to discuss what will happen at the theatre before you take your child along, to ensure that they understand that they will have to remain seated. They will also be expected to keep quiet and not to run around in the aisles!
  10. Finally, enjoy the show! Give the actors your undivided  attention, remember that you have paid to watch these professionals dance, sing and act their hearts out and give you an experience to remember! 

Lots of love, The Footlights Team x 


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