SEEN has got tips & tricks for you, oh, and some opinions.
Or check out these FAQ's.
Q: What should I wear?
Most theatres are pretty relaxed on dress code, but SEEN recommends that you put in a little effort. Avoid gym shorts and sweatpants (unless they are fly), think more like jeans and a T-shirt. If it is a bigger theatre, they will mostly likely have some strong AC. So, if it is the summer and you get cold easy, bring something to stay warm under. However, some smaller theatres do not have AC, so in the summer you might be really happy you wore shorts and a T. If it is the winter, be ready to wrestle your coat into your lap or under your seat.
Q: What should I bring?
Your ticket. Make sure that your ticket is either at the box office (at will call) or in your hand. If you haven't yet purchased a ticket, make sure you know what you have to do to purchase it. Lots of online ticket services will let you print off your ticket at home. Know where the theatre is, or have a smart phone that can help you find your way. Oh, and just in case, bring some cash and your ID (they might ask for it at will call).
Q: What should I NOT bring?
Don’t bring your dinner, they don’t let you bring outside food into the theatre. Don’t bring your luggage or shopping bags or a big bag, the seats are usually pretty tight with only a little room underneath or on your lap to shove your stuff. So, if you can, leave it at home.
Q: What happens when I get to the theatre?
Usually, there are two lines; one to enter the theatre, and one to get to the box office (to pick up will call tickets or purchase tickets). If you have your ticket, ask around (there are usually lots of theatre staff to help) and figure out which line will get you into the theatre. If you need to pick up or purchase a ticket, find the line for the box office. *That line might be split into two lines as well: 1) Will call, where you can pick up tickets you've already purchased and 2) Where you can purchase tickets.
Once you go to the box office, you are going to have to find the other line in order to get into the theatre. An usher will most likely check your ticket, tear it or scan it, and now you are in!
Q: What happens when I get inside the theatre?
An usher will direct you where to go. Follow their instructions. Often you will be sent to another usher who will help you find your way. Along the way, an usher will give you a program or playbill. Hooray! You've got a souvenir and you're almost there!
Q: What is intermission? And how do I know if there is one?
An intermission is a break in the show, think half-time. It is when you can get up and stretch, go to the bathroom and maybe purchase a snack. There is usually an indicator (lights flashing or chimes) to let you know that it is time to get back to your seat because the show is about to begin.
Either google it (it might be easier to google the title of the show with the phrase "run time") or ask an usher on your way in. There might be signs posted to let you know, but sometimes you can miss them. Ushers are there to help with your questions, so don't be afraid to ask!
Q: Can I go to the bathroom while the performance is happening?
Yes, you can, but you could get dirty looks from your fellow audience members.
SEEN recommends that you use the bathroom before the show or at intermission.
Q: Can I take photos or videos?
For most shows, especially Broadway and Off Broadway, you are prohibited from taking photos or videos during the show. And most will ask you to turn off all electronics at the top of the show. SEEN recommends that you do something (turn it off, airplane mode, something) so that you are not that person whose phones goes off in the middle of the performance. You will get dirty looks and people can get pretty rude.
Q: What should I do with my phone?
For most shows, turn it off and put it away. However, today, some shows want the audience to use their phones during the show. So, ask an usher or keep your ears open at the top of the show and you will get your instructions.
If you do get to keep your phone on, don’t forget to watch the show.
Q: Can I talk to my friends during the show?
You will have to feel it out, but SEEN would say that most shows don't want you to talk to your friends while you are in the audience. Unless you are reacting to something going on onstage, try to keep chit-chat to yourself until after the show or intermission. Remember, the performance is live and almost always the performers can hear you talking, so if it isn't about the show you are seeing, it might distract the performers.
Q: What happens at the end?
Applause. Some shows will have a short little clap and you can go on your way. But for other shows, the audience may give a standing ovation and keep clapping for quite some time. Join in, it is a lot of fun to clap for the show and let them know you appreciated it.
After that, you are free to go on your way.
Q: Can I meet the performers after the show?
For most shows, if you stick around you can chat with the performers. For the big shows, you will have to go to the Stage Door and wait for the performers to exit. For smaller shows, you might be able to wait in the audience until they come out.
Q: What if I have questions at the end of the show?
After some shows, you might come out with more questions than answers. SEEN recommends a few things. Talk to your friends who went with you and see if they have any thoughts. There is no ‘right’ way to interpret a work of art, so if you have some ideas or thoughts on the show, trust your gut response. Check out SEEN. We might have a response online where you can ask questions or you can drop us a question in our question zone.
Q: What if I have a really strong response to a performance?
There are many shows that we come out of with lots of strong emotions, ideas and thoughts whirling around our brains. Talk to your friends and they can help you process. Check on SEEN and see if there is a piece you can read or respond to. Or if you are feel like you want to share your experience with a wider audience, WRITE SOMETHING AND SUBMIT IT TO SEEN. We love audience responses and there is a good chance we will publish it.
Still got a Q?
Questions, comments, and compliments encouraged. Feel free to submit to us what's going on with you. Maybe you've got a theatre question you need answered ASAP, or you'd like to discuss your experience on the last show you saw.
Either way, we love it, and we want to hear it all!