As the father of five darling children, I know a thing or two about helping kids behave. The little ones like to run, shout and play, which is fine in the streets of London or even inside our humble cottage. But when I took them to the theater for the first time recently, they had a lot of questions about what to do. You might have some of the same questions, but don’t worry, my dears, you can find the answers below!
What happens when I first arrive at the theater? An usher will scan your ticket, help you find your seat and give you a program. If you are early, you will have time to read your program or talk to the people you came with. Be sure to use your “indoor voice.” During this time you should also silence your phone, or remind your parents to silence theirs. We grown-ups are forgetful sometimes.
What should I do once the performance starts? Sit quietly and watch. Remember that everybody else in the theater is there to enjoy the play, and they won’t like it if you disturb them. You should not talk, get out of your seat, play with electronic devices or kick your neighbor’s chair. How would you feel if somebody kicked your chair?
What if I have to go to the bathroom during the play? You should try to wait until intermission (the break in the middle of the play), but if you must leave the theater, be as quiet as possible.
What if I feel like talking or laughing? Talking is not allowed, but if the performance is funny, go ahead and laugh! Just don’t keep laughing for too long—if you disrupt your family and friends’ enjoyment of the play, they might not share their plum pudding with you on Christmas day.
What else should I remember? Seeing a play is not like seeing a movie. (My children have never seen a movie because in our day, they have not been invented yet.) The actors are in the same room as you, which means they can see and hear you. They are working very hard to present a story to you, so you must respect their efforts and pay attention. It’s okay to not like the play, but you still need to show respect. And if you do like the play (and we hope you do!), please show your appreciation by giving the actors hearty applause at the end of the performance.