Live performances and stage shows are eagerly awaited events in this part of the world where family entertainment is otherwise restricted to private gatherings or perhaps a visit to the shopping mall!
Here are my top 10 audience etiquette guidelines listed in the hope that we may, in our own small way, contribute to making the whole experience more enjoyable and memorable for all.
- Participate!: The success of a performance depends in part on the audience. Performers “feed off” an audience’s energy and are perturbed if audiences do not react in tangible ways.
- Applaud the efforts!: Clapping at appropriate times such as when the performers come on stage and after they finish the performance is customary. Clapping in the middle of a performance is generally appreciated at pop concerts or those where performers request the audience to join in.
- Share!: Part of the beauty of a live show is the experience of sharing the moment with other people. Acknowledge others who are close with a friendly smile or greeting.
- No reservations!: ‘Reserving’ chairs with handbags or other personal items whilst others who have made the effort of arriving early are forced to find less preferred seating is unfair!
- Decide quickly! Constantly changing rows and seats is an unnecessary ritual that could inconvenience others and/or impact others’ enjoyment.
- Don’t disturb!: Excessive talking during a performance either on a cell phone or with a friend is not only rude to the performers, but also to those around.
- Don’t teach!: Teaching a child good manners while a performance is on, detracts from the enjoyment by distracting other audience members and creating unpleasantness.
- Don’t leave half way: Leaving in the middle of a performance obstructs the view of others. A good time to leave is when the performers have left the stage.
- Be considerate!: Everyone coughs or sneeze from time to time. But if it is continuous, it seems considerate to step outside or aside for one’s own sake and for those around.
- Back to the stage: Face people seated while making our way to a seat if the seating arrangement is theatre style, so that we can courteously excuse our self or murmur an ‘apology’ as we inch past them to our seat!
Audience etiquette varies depending upon the type of performance one attends. However, one guideline remains constant. Enjoy along with the others around, and allow those on stage to give the performance the audience deserves. Each live performance is an entirely unique experience. What we participate in will never occur the same way twice.