Theatre Etiquette for Kids

Here are a few things you can discuss with your class to help them understand what to expect at a live theatre production:

• Theatre features live on-stage actors. They have spent many weeks rehearsing for the performance.
• The audience is a very important part of the performance. Appreciation and enthusiasm for the performers is shown by close attention and participation and applause at the proper times. The success of the play depends on the appropriate interaction between cast and audience.
• The theatre is a very special place. Its atmosphere is entirely different from your home where the television is always available.
• It is easy to identify with live actors. You can see how they use their bodies and voices to convey different emotions.
• Actors wear costumes and make-up to help create the impression of the characters they play.
• There is much more to most live performances than actors. Special sets, effects, lighting, music, costumes, and of course, the audience add to the total experience.

Introduce your students to the following theatrical terms:

Box OfficeReserved SeatsActs & ScenesProducer
PropsDirectorStageCurtain Call
Lobby StagehandUsherMusical Theatre
ProsceniumOrchestra PitPlaywrightScenery


Discuss the role of the audience and proper theatre etiquette.

• Arrive early so that you do not miss anything and so that you will not disturb the rest of the audience while trying to get comfortable in your seat. Lights go out before the curtain goes up and seating is very difficult after that. 
• It is easier for you (and the rest of the audience) to see and hear the performance if you stay in your seat and listen very carefully. Be careful not to kick your feet or hit someone else’s seat with your feet.
• In most theatres you are not allowed to eat or chew gum. Not only does it ruin the theater, but it also distracts from your concentration.
• Try your best to remain in your seat once the performance has begun. Be sure to use the restroom before the show starts. In long performances, there will be an intermission. However, there is usually no intermission in a performance of the Primary Players since our shows are about one hour in length.
• Although you may wish to say something to the actors while they are on stage, you need to hold your thoughts. You may disturb their concentration. 
• Sing or participate if and only if you are invited to do so. Your participation is often very important.
• Listen to how the music sets the moods and affects your own feelings.
• Show the cast and crew your appreciation for their hard work with applause. Do this when you like a song or dance or joke at the end of the show.
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