Theatre Etiquette Part One

My first theatre job was in 2003. I work as an usher and box office associate at a few theatres since then and there are many things patrons have done that is just incorrect theatre etiquette. I will share some and give you some pointers at what is expected of you as a patron and what you should not be doing as a patron as well as some suggestions so you are not making the same mistakes as others. I am not sure how many of these I will end up with, but I plan to keep going until there is no more to say. In this part I will share three theatre etiquette suggestions.

The first suggestion is NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING. There are questions that are dumb, but ask them anyways, because you never know when a question can help you. If you do not have access to the internet than call the theatre before showing up. If you have your tickets call to just make sure the time hasn’t changed or the show has not been cancelled, especially if you are traveling a distance. Generally if anything has changed if you brought tickets (and gave your phone number) the theatre will call you. However, if you are one who does not give out your phone number than call in advanced just to make sure that everything is still the same. If you do not have tickets than you definitely want to call no matter how far or near you are from the theatre. Shows get cancelled, delayed, and even sold out, and you do not want to show up and not be able to see the show. And if you are not familiar with the area calling for directions and parking instructions is very important. If you do have access to the internet than before leaving check their website for directions, parking instructions, changes in schedule, and availability of seats. If you are able to purchase tickets on their website than you can see what seats have not been sold. Again do not be afraid to call or check their website before traveling to the theatre.

Suggestion number two: DO NOT BUY YOUR FRIENDS’ TICKETS. I cannot count how many times people brought tickets for their friends and then they could not attend. 9 out of 10 theatres have a NO REFUND policy and about 6 out of 10 have a NO EXCHANGE POLICY. I know you want to hang out with your friends and treat them, but you do not want to be stuck with unused tickets. Unless the theatre has an exchange policy (or exchange for a theatre gift certificate in the amount you spent (not including taxes and/or shipping/handling)) there is nothing the theatre can do for you. Although in some states (NJ being one of them) scalping tickets are not illegal, no theatre will buy back your tickets unless it is a sold out show (and that is even a small percentage chance of them doing that). So the only thing you can do is either sell them to people buying tickets or simply be kindhearted and treat a stranger. Another suggestion is have your friends pay you for the tickets before you purchase them. This way if they do end up not attending its there money lost and not yours.

My last suggestion for Theatre Etiquette Part One is to remember YOU HAVE A JOB TOO. Many patrons come to the theatre with their demands expecting the staff to change the rules for them. This is a disgusting and arrogant thing to do. Every work place has its policies, standards, rules, regulations, and laws and they must be followed at all times. If you do not want people coming into your place of work and forcing you to change your policies just for them, then you shouldn’t be doing it to anyone else at their work of place. No one cares that you don’t like the policies. They are put in place for a reason and are expected to be followed. If you do not like them then leave and find another place to do your business. Selfish patrons are always a problem in the theatre. They are the people who expect you to do what they want (like a bunch of immature spoiled babies) instead of adhering to the policies in place. They make a day at work worst than it needs to be and trust me other patrons see you and do not like you just as much as the staff you are annoying. Remember no one has to cater or serve you anywhere. Every business has the authority to ban you. So don’t be that annoying, loud, obnoxious customer who doesn’t know how t be a mature adult and simply obey the policies put in place. Again remember you have a place of work with policies as well and is expected to keep them. Don’t try to make any business break their policies because I promise you it will only come back to you at your job.

That is all for now. Look out for Part Two. I hope you enjoyed, but most importantly learned from this message. And hope you adhere to all theatre etiquette.



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Casey Bell

Proud uncle, writer (author, poet, songwriter, playwright, screenwriter, drama series), fashion designer, graphic designer, visual artist, and so much more.