Theatre Etiquette

Sweet wrappers? Chatting? Phone use? Singing along? What’s your biggest bug-bear when attending the theatre? With more and more people complaining about the theatre etiquette of their fellow audience members what can theatres do to combat this increasingly frustrating problem?

On social media there are often comments about the etiquette of fellow audience members ranging from people talking throughout the show, rustling sweet packets constantly, singing along to the use of phones and other distractions. Not only does it distract and annoy the audience members, but also the cast as Layton Williams and Aimee Moore (Hairspray UK Tour) recently tweeted. Why attend a show if you are going to spend most of the time on your phone?

Ticket prices have soared recently and for some the idea of going to the theatre is a rare treat. To have this ruined by inconsiderate audience members is a real shame. So what can theatres do?

Some theatres are selling sweets in plastic pots therefore limiting the sound of rustling. This doesn’t affect people who bring their own sweets but is certainly a step in the right direction. Other shows have displayed signs asking for audience members to respect each other and not to join in the show by singing loudly.

Obviously there are rules concerning the use of phones but the ushers and theatre staff are quite limited as to what they can do. Lucie Jones recently complained on stage door that a girl was videoing the whole of the first act of Legally Blonde. Lucie even said she would not come back out until the girl was made to delete the footage. The staff at the theatre said they could only tell her not to film anymore but didn’t have any more powers as to enforcing the law. Can more be done?


The performers in shows work tirelessly to make sure that the show they produce is to their best ability and to have certain audience members distract and possibly ruin this is just not fair. Not only this but using a phone or taking photo’s could actually distract performers and cause accidents. Not to mention annoying fellow audience members.

Have you experienced inconsiderate audience members? What do you think can be done about it? Have you got any ideas about how the theatres themselves can help to eliminate the problem? Please get in touch.

3 thoughts on “Theatre Etiquette

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  1. Yes, I have experienced this twice this year.

    Rent- I have waited 5 years to see the stage. The couple next to my parents and I were talking the entire time

    Les Mis- I heard a phone which almost took me out of the show. Not cool.

    When you are a massive musical fan, I hate it when audience members are disrespectful

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Especially in Rent’s case. I was already in love with the show coming in, but waiting for 5 years.

        With Les Mis, it is such a special show and it actually was my 5th time seeing the stage show, which was my 2nd professional company and 1st time seeing it on tour. For this one, I was seeing the new 25th anniversary production for the first time.

        I wish people would learn to respect the actors and audience more. There is nothing like the power of live theatre. Acting is much harder than it looks and they worked so hard so they deserve more respect

        Liked by 1 person

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