3.1 min readBy Published On: October 11th, 2016Categories: Features3 Comments on Heather’s Guide to Theater Etiquette

The other night I went to a show at the Boston Opera House.  It was swell.  The Opera House is gorgeous, the cast is incredibly talented, the music is fun, and the crowd?  The crowd was something else.  Now maybe it was the particular show who brought out a crowd that leaned to terrible, or maybe people are terrible.  Either way, ya’ll need help.  Maybe some of the people going to the theatre just don’t know any better, maybe they just need a little guidance, maybe they just need someone to call them on their innate awfulness.  Well any way you slice it, Mama is here to lay down the law.

Get there on time.  This should be a no brainer, but really these all should be a no brainer.  If the show starts at 7:30 your ass should be in the seat before 7:30.  And if you do get there late (because hey, shit happens) don’t bitch or roll your eyes at the usher when they say they have to wait for a certain point in the show to seat you.  You came late, you surrendered your right to be snitty.

Dress the part.  I was SHOCKED, shocked I tell ya, at what people were wearing.  Dingy sweatshirts, mom/dad jeans, bedazzled pockets, yoga pants.  WHAT IS HAPPENING?!  What kind of society, or lack thereof, are we living in?  I did not pay a couple hundred bucks to be surrounded by people who look like they stopped off on their way to paint a house.  Throw on a real pair of pants for Christ sake.

Turn your phone off.  Can you believe I’m even saying this?  Cuz I can’t.  I couldn’t believe how many people thought they were being sneaky Petes and discreetly looking at their phones.  Girl, you ain’t sneaking anything.  We are in a dark theater and your phone is a god damn nightlight.  I should also add that every phone offender was a Baby Boomer (not a Millennial) so not only should they know better, but also their type was size ginormous so I could read every text message, and none of them were emergencies.  Also, forget even your fellow theatre goers, think of the performers.  They have worked their whole lives to get up on that stage and perform their hearts out for you.  They have been singing and dancing since they were in diapers.  They have paid their dues in degrading jobs and shitty apartments.  They are in the midst of realizing a lifelong goal.  This should be the greatest moment of their lives, so think of a second about how they feel when they look out into the audience and see your granny glasses bespeckled face lit up like a ghoul.

Shut up.  Come on guys, shut up, shut up, shut up.  This is not Rocky Horror, no one paid their hard earned money to listen to you hootin and hollarin.  I don’t care if you know every word to every song because you know what?  I do too, and so do most of the people in the audience.  Don’t sing, don’t yell to the actors, and don’t “whisper” to the person next to you.  Got it?

I realize none of these etiquette tips are groundbreaking, and most of you are reading this like “ahhhhh, duh” but some of you are reading it thinking “well, I really am sneaky when I check my phone” or “my Jordache jeans looked nice” or even “no one heard me when whispered the plot of Lost to my friend” but I can assure you, most of the people around you thought you were terrible, and they weren’t wrong.


  1. mplo October 12, 2016 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Thank you for a great guide to Theatre Ettiquette. This can also apply to a movie theatre, as well. I enjoy reading your writings, as well as everybody else’s here on Caught In Southie, although I don’t reside in the community. Keep up the good work!

  2. christine October 12, 2016 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    Totally agree on the wardrobe element – I am shocked at what people will wear to a cultural event for which they shelled out money – I was raised very old fashioned – you dress for church, you dress to travel (especially air travel) and you dress for events. Sophisticated society is long gone…..

  3. Senna October 16, 2016 at 3:25 am - Reply

    Totally agree! My boyfriend and I were very dressed up and could not believe what the people around us were wearing!

Leave A Comment