Theatre Etiquette

One of the things that really gets Wilma’s goat is people who don’t know how to behave when at the theatre. Based on my experiences, here a list of things you should refrain from doing while watching a show.

If you have any other bug bears then let me know and I will add them to the list!



  • If you’re at a child-friendly show and your child decides to throw a tantrum during the show, please take them outside until they calm down. The audience do not need to listen to your child screaming.
  • Lovebirds – When at the theatre, please try to sit back in your seat. Chairs are staggered in such a way that if you sit back in your chair then the person behind you should be able to see through the gap. Being in love is great, but it is disrespectful to sit so closely to each other that your heads are touching (as this blocks the view of the person behind you)! Please wait until the interval for cuddles!
  • Taking pictures – it’s rather distracting when the person next to you lights up their phone and zooms in for a picture on stage every 5 minutes. If you want to remember the show – buy a programme!
  • Talking – yes it’s an obvious one, but most people who pay on average £60 per ticket to see a show, go to see the actors talking and not the audience. If you have something to say then save it for the interval or end of show.
  • Singing – we all love a good musical, especially if we know the words to all the songs. Sometimes I stand in front of the mirror and think I can sing Defying Gravity as well as Rachel Tucker, however the sad truth is I know I can’t. No matter how good or bad you might be, people aren’t paying to hear you sing, and so please stay quiet and just sing along in your head!
  • Hair – If you have a lot of hair, please bear in mind that there is usually someone sitting behind you, and if you decide to tie your hair up in a bun on the top of your head, then you are going to obstruct the view for the person behind you. Be respectful of the people around you.
  • Leaning forward – if you have something slightly obstructing your view, you can feel the urge to lean forward in order to get a better view. Please bear in mind that leaning forward will mean the person sitting behind you can’t see as the seats are positioned in such a way that you need to be sitting back in your chair to give everyone the best view possible.
  • Hats – If you are wearing a hat, please remove it before the show begins or similarly to the big hair, it will only obstruct the view for the people behind you.
  • Feet on chairs – If you are lucky enough to not have anyone sat in the seat in front of you, and the seats are pitched, some people seem to take this as an invitation to stretch their feet out and put them on the chair in front. Not only is this bad manners in general but the people sitting in the row in front will not want to be smelling your feet.

Things that annoy some of Wilma’s followers:

I would have 2 say is the rustling & then unwrapping of sweets that r individually wrapped. Then the wrapper being screwed up! Paul Gibbs

I always seem to have foreign speaker behind me translating the whole show to person next to them very loudly. Jayne Graves

The coughing and sniffing… and those who annoyingly say shhh loudly and then complain about others being loud! Anastasia Beaverhausen

Click here to read Megan Blee’s take on theatre and stage door etiquette.