Teaching Your Students About Theater Etiquette
Etiquette is about rules for correct behavior in social situations. If we all know the rules of behavior for a social situation we have the tools we need for a pleasant, comfortable, and safe group experience. We all know what is expected of us and what we can reasonably expect from others.

Etiquette is not about “phony behavior” or unreasonable demands. Its purpose is to help us be courteous and to live together in peace and respect. The manners your students learn while attending Olympia Junior programs performances are the same manners they will use at other cultural events throughout their lives.

Etiquette Rules for Olympia Junior Programs Performances

  • Do not bring food, drink, candy, or gum in the theater.
  • Tie your shoes. Dangling shoelaces on the stairs are a hazard.
  • Don’t wear a hat.
  • Cameras and recording equipment of any kind is not allowed. I copyright the plays material. It is illegal to photograph or tape without permission.
  • Please turn off cell phones and pagers.
  • Stay with your class; walk in and out of the theater in an orderly line, following an usher.Talk quietly once you are seated and waiting for the performance to begin.
  • Your feet don’t belong on railings, your seat, or on the seat in front of you.
  • Don’t talk during the performance.
  • Spontaneous laughter, applause, and gasps of surprise are welcome at the theater as a part of the connection between the actors and the audience.
  • Shouts, loud comments, or other loud noises are rude and distracting to the actors and to the audience around you.
  • If you must enter or exit your seat while the rest of the class is seated, quietly say “Excuse me,” then face towards the front, press closely against the backs of the seats in front of you, and move along the row to the aisle. Remember, every second that you are standing, you are distracting those around you. Open and close the theater doors very quietly.
  • After an Olympia Junior Programs performance the actors often will stand in the lobby of the theater and greet you as you leave. You will not have time to stop and talk, but please feel free to say hello or make a brief comment to the actors such as “Thanks, it was a great play!” Or just smile and wave!

Annotated Etiquette Reading References for Teachers and ParentsBest, Miss Alyse. Miss Best’s Etiquette for Young People. Portland, Oregon: PEP Press, 1990. (Library call # J395.122 BEST 1990) Easy ding (third grade level?). Simple strategies for mannerly behavior at home and in public. Role-playing exercises. No specific theater etiquette. 137 pages.

Packer, Alex J. Ph.D. How Rude! The Teenager’s Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior and Not Grossing People Out. Ed. by Pamela Espeland. Minneapolis, Minn: free spirit publishing, 1997. (Library call # 395.123 Packer 1997) Everything from knowing when to clap (or not clap) at the symphony to eating dinner at a friend’s home. Easy, fun reading, this is an etiquette book that preteens, teens, and young adults will actually read and learn from. Humorous, practical, and humane. 463 pages.

Revised Jan. 2003

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