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Lucy's top 10 tips for children's theatre etiquette

The Christmas holidays can be the first time children have been to the theatre, be it to see a Panto or a family show. Live performances should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience but, how do we introduce children to the magic of live theatre whilst adhering to theatre etiquette?

Here are my top ten tips for taking children to see shows:

  1. Choose a suitable show. Stick to your children's age-range and choose something that they are interested in so they’re not likely to get fidgety or bored. Perhaps a pantomime or a show specially written for their age range.
  2. Explain theatre etiquette to them before you go. Make sure they understand it’s not like a cinema because the actors are performing live and too much noise is off-putting for them and the rest of the audience. 
  3. Give them a sneaky peek of what’s in store. Show photos and explain the plot to them so they can fully engage when they get there and follow the storyline.
  4. If possible, book an aisle seat so that toilet trips and dancing along doesn’t disrupt any neighbours!
  5. Even so, make sure you’ve popped to the loo just before the show starts and in the interval to avoid going during the performance.
  6. Unwrap sweet treats ahead of time to avoid any rustling! Paper pick ‘n’ mix bags or tubs are a quiet alternative.
  7. An ice cream in the interval can be a great incentive for good behaviour in act one and also keeps them quiet for the first 15 minutes of act 2.
  8. Get to the auditorium early to show you children around. Theatres are fascinating places and you can show them the orchestra pit and sound desk to get them excited. 
  9. Be guided by the show. Whilst pantos and other family shows may encourage children to sing along, others may not. If you're unsure, ask staff at the theatre.
  10. Finally, stick around to support the musicians whilst they play the “playout’ at the end of the show - this also helps avoid crowding and allows the leaving queues to die down.  If you’re in the stalls you could even walk down to watch the musicians play.

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