For Our Audience

How to Have a Great Time at the Theatre

Attending a live performance is a magical experience, and sharing it with a child makes it even more meaningful.  Children love the excitement of watching artists on stage presenting amazing shows just for them.  Even the youngest child can develop an appreciation for the performing arts.  Helping your child understand what to expect when going to the Theatre will greatly enhance the experience.

Here's what you can do to help everyone to have an enjoyable time...

Do some homework on the play.

Find out as much about the play as you can before attending.  Usually, this information is on the producer's website.  There may be descriptions, photos, videos, or study guides.  Share what you think your child will appreciate. 

Talk about the play beforehand.

Based on what you find out, focus your child's attention on the play.  Give them one or two things to look for.  For example, you can say things like:

  • I heard there's going to be puppets in this play.
  • How do you think they are going to make the carpet fly?
  • Do you think the winged monkeys will have scary costumes?

Remember that it’s live.

If your child has never been to Theatre, remind him/her how to watch a play:

  • You the audience are part of the show. Unlike at the movie theatre, these actors are actually in front of you, and they can be distracted by what they hear and see in the auditorium. They expect the audience to sit quietly and attentively.
  • You should use the restroom before the performance starts, or wait until afterwards.
  • It’s best if you don’t leave the auditorium while the performers are performing, unless you get restless and really need to exit. It you think that may happen, it’s best to sit near an exit. If you leave, you may not be allowed back to your seat.
  • No food or drink (or gum) is allowed in the auditorium.
  • If you can’t see from your seat, you can sit on your parent’s lap. Don’t put your feet on the seats, yours or anyone else’s.

Remember that it’s pretend.

  • The actors are in costume, and it is pretend.
  • The lights will be turned off, and it will be dark except for the lights on the stage.
  • There may be loud noises and bright lights and other surprises.

You may laugh and applaud. 

  • If something is funny, laugh! If the performers do something you like, clap, especially at the end of a scene. Be enthusiastic... the actors love it!

Keep all electronic devices turned off.

  • Turn off all electronic devices (including phones). Not silent, OFF.  This means everyone, including adults.
  • Do not text during a performance.
  • The audience may not shoot photos or video during the performance.
  • Sometimes the actors appear after the show for photos and autographs.

Talk about the play afterwards. 

  • What was your favorite part? What part did you like least? Why?
  • Who was your favorite actor/character? Why? What actor/character would you most like to be if you were an actor in this show? Why?
  • Did you ever see a movie or read a book based on this story? How did the play compare? How was it different? Which do you like better?
  • How does this play compare to others you have seen?
  • What is your favorite part about going to the Theatre?
  • What's the next play you want to go see?

Download a printable pdf of this information below.

Jonathan Dunski,
Apr 1, 2013, 10:24 AM