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Theatre Etiquette Guidelines
Thank you for choosing a field trip to the theatre! For some of you, this will be your first time attending a live theatrical performance – a special and exciting experience that is very different from watching a movie or TV program, or attending a sporting event. To help you prepare for your visit, we have put together some helpful tips and basic “Dos & Don’ts”. Please review these items with your students so that everyone can arrive at the theatre with a clear sense of what to expect, and what is expected of them.
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
- Prepare a seating plan for your group. Design a seating arrangement prior to your visit, taking preference, special needs and proper supervision into account. A 1:10 chaperone to student ratio is recommended for younger student groups, and 1:20 for high school groups. Seating maps are available on the Theatres page of our website.
- Distribute tickets in advance. Lobby space is limited and not suitable for handing out tickets to large groups. Please ensure that each group member arrives at the theatre with a pre-assigned ticket in hand.
- Know where you are going. Mirvish Productions presents shows at four theatres in Toronto, so be sure, before you head out, to reconfirm the name and address of the theatre you are visiting. Directions, area maps and parking info can be found on the Plan Your Visit page of our website.
- Know the start time of the show. Show times vary depending on the production. Be sure to reconfirm the start and end times of the show you are seeing. We recommend that you arrive 45 minutes prior to curtain, and take potential traffic delays into account when planning your pick up and departure times. Check the Shows page of our website for correct start and running time information.
- Lay the groundwork for deeper engagement. Learn about the history of the theatre you are visiting, and the show you are about to see. The more you know going in, the more you will get out of your visit. Lots of great information is available online, and many shows provide supplementary study guides. Visit the Schools & Education section of our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our historic theatre tours and educational workshops.
- Encourage your students to dress up for the occasion! Formal attire is not a requirement, of course, but dressing up for a special event is fun and appropriate when visiting a theatre.
- Discuss the important role of the audience.
THE ROLE OF THE AUDIENCE
When you attend a live theatrical performance, you are not just an observer; you are an active participant in the creation of the moment. In fact, you, the audience, are the magic ingredient needed to transform the rehearsal of a show into a live performance. And while the same show may be performed many times, no two performances are exactly the same because each audience is made up of different people. The performance you attend will be shaped in part by how you and your fellow audience members respond to, and engage with, what is happening on stage.
It is also important to remember that live theatre is exactly that - live. It is happening in real time, performed by and for real people in a shared collective space. Unlike a movie or recorded program, there is no pausing or rewinding the action. If you are distracted for a moment (or if you distract someone else) that moment in the show is lost forever. When you choose to attend a live theatrical performance, it is understood that you accept the responsibility of your role as a member of the audience. You are agreeing to give your attention to the actors on stage, to be taken on the imaginative journey they are offering, and to allow your fellow audience members to do the same without distraction.
AT THE THEATRE
- Participate in the performance by sharing your laughter, tears and applause.
- Respect the shared space. Refrain from talking (even whispering) or any activity that disrupts the performance.
- Visit the restroom before the show begins or at intermission. If you must exit the auditorium during the performance, please wait for an appropriate break in the action.
- Pay attention to all announcements and respect the rules of the theatre; they are designed with your safety and enjoyment in mind.
- Sit in your assigned seat.
- Don’t bring any outside food or drink into the theatre. A variety of snacks and drinks are available for purchase on site.
- Turn off all electronic devices, including cell phones, for the entire duration of the performance.
- Photography is strictly prohibited during the performance.
- Remember the important role of the audience– the actors need your energy and your attention to make their performances the best they can be!
- Commit to the journey the show takes you on, and allow the whole of the performance, first moment to last, to be a time of inward reflection. Hold onto, try to remember, your thoughts and opinions so that you can share them in a post- show discussion with the rest of your group.
Enjoy the show!