Q: Our high school has had a problem with the behavior of the students during performances and presentations. What would you suggest as the best way to inform our students of appropriate audience behavior?
A: It is important to ask students to put themselves in the place of the performers or presenters – ask them to think how they would feel if people talked, were rude, and were inattentive. You can also cover basic manners that hold true in movie theaters, classrooms, and stage performances, too:
The basic manners for audiences include:
Don’t talk during the performance
Discard your trash properly
Don’t sit with your heads together so the people behind you can’t see
Don’t wear hats
If you have big hair, sit in the back so you don’t block someone’s view.
Turn off cell phones
Don’t clap in the middle of a performance – wait until the end
Don’t get up and down innumerable times, disturbing those around you
Don’t put your feet on the seat in front of you
Don’t take up an empty seat by using it for your coats and parcels
If you must get up to make a call, use the restroom or because you are leaving a theater, wait until an intermission or a break in the performance, if possible
If you are late to the theater, wait for an intermission to take your seat
Don’t stick your feet out into the aisle
Don’t use someone else’s arm rest or sprawl over into someone else’s seat
Do enjoy the performance and applaud the actors; never boo or hiss or make rude noises if you don’t like the performance
When taking your seat, if you must climb over a row of people, your back is to them; you face forward.