Home Actor 10 Things You’re Doing Wrong As An Audience Member

10 Things You’re Doing Wrong As An Audience Member


Oh the sweets joys of theatre. The experience is arousing, so much so that you forget that as an audience member, your job is just as important as the performers’ on stage. How so? Here are 10 things you are doing wrong as an audience member.

1. Arriving Late…and Entitled

It is one thing for the curtain to open late, but it is twelve things for you to walk around and seat hunt after the show has begun!


“Excuse Me. How you doing? I just -“

“Sorry, I just need to get by -“

“Is that G48 beside you? I’m trying to find my seat.”

You are not only irritating as hell, but irresponsibly rude to those that put in a little more effort in making it on time. Sure, you had an emergency. We get it, but ask the ushers to sit you in the back. To add insult to injury, Late Comers tend to be the loudest parishioners for some reason. Try to tone it down or…ya know, pretend not to exist. It used to be that you could not enter the theater until the second act if you were late. We should return to that rule.

BE ON TIME! It is best to be at least an hour early before a performance. If you are late, SIT YO ASS DOWN! (We should all take the Nina Simone approach)

2. Complaining About Ticket Prices or Trying to Opt Out of Buying Tickets

Productions are not ran on family blood lines! No matter who your cousin, aunt, best friend, next door neighbor is in the show, without a comp ticket…YOU GOTTA PAY! Productions are expensive, every single thing you see when you enter the theater (typically outside of ushers…they volunteer…so they can see the show for free) COST!

“I thought 5th Cousins got in free? I knew her all her life.”
Complaining about ticket costs won’t lower the price or get you in any sooner. People pay for what they want, but try to value our process. A $50 ticket is not expensive. Hamilton tickets are expensive, but most of the complainers spoke of in this post don’t know what Hamilton is.

Just buy the ticket bruh…

3. Talking to Production Officials/Cast Members Before the Show

Please leave us alone! That’s why we got ushers, talk to them! Before the theater announcement that says where the exits are and to please turn your phones off…we’ll get on that later, we are absolutely CRAZY! The smile is our way of saying, I’m trying not to snap!

“OMG! Hey! Are you excited? I can’t wait to see it!”
“What are you doing right now?”

Don’t speak unless spoken to! At most, just wave. We see you. We appreciate you.

4. Dressing Like You’re At A Cookout or the COGIC Convention

A visit to the theater used to be considered “high society.” It was always a fancy affair. Think of the Harlem Renaissance. There was so much dignity in watching a performance.

We aren’t saying you should come in a gown and tuxedo (unless that’s been requested), but at least give us business casual…as a matter of fact, your Sunday’s Best will do (just not Easter Sunday…y’all do too much). However, refrain from wearing hats! We are not here to shout (though we may)! This is an artistic classy affair.

Show some respect! Do some research!

5. Not Actually Turning Your Phone Off/Putting it on Silent

There is so much purpose in that 10 second house announcement. It could save your life and your credibility. Your phone ringing during a production is the most inconsiderate, rude thing you can do inside the theater!

Technology has advanced. Don’t just click the silent button, manually turn the volume off on the phone. Turn the light down too! Or better yet, just turn it off!

6. Being Obnoxiously Loud!

A new wave of audience members came in around 2004. Tyler Perry might have put full pane glass windows through our precious fourth wall. Some even go as far as shouting. Some new age directors even anticipate praise breaks (and we ain’t too mad at ya…just get back to the show quickly).

It’s like audiences come to tear that wall down now. Uncontrollable laughing and clapping are one thing, but when people start to mistake you for a performer, you’re doing too much! Someone needs to take you by the hand and whisper in your ear:

Yes, everyone involved in the success of a production works hard for you to be moved, but you cannot be louder than the action on stage. In movies, talking directly to the actor on stage isn’t too bad; however, on stage, WE CAN HEAR YOU! If you are not on stage, you are not in “the world” of the actor. You don’t exist. Just watch it!

Enjoy yourself! Don’t get crazy! Bring an accountability partner. Don’t say hey to your niece or make everyone aware that that’s your son-in-law…the stage hand.

7. Not Clapping After Every Scene

In the same way we don’t want you to be too loud during certain scenes, don’t be dead! The theatric experience is an exchange of energy from the performers to the audience and vice versa. We want to know you are enjoying yourself. You should see the expression on a performers face after the first scene when they know they have a “good crowd.” It is a relief. In return, they give their all.

Now, in the case that the performance sucks…you good. Just sit there. Stare. Show your riveting disgust.

Just be audibly appreciative. A good hand clap or whooo here and there (after scenes) will do just fine. 

8. Failing to IMMEDIATELY Remove Your Crying Baby

**Real Life reactions of surrounding audience members after 5 seconds:

Yea…we’re just going to leave it at that.

GET THAT DAMN BABY OUT IMMEDIATELY! Why did you bring it!?!? 

9. Attacking the Backstage Door As You Wait For Performers to Come Out

You have to understand, after a performance, performers are EXHAUSTED in ways that you may never understand. They will put on their best smiles and appreciation, but in real life they just want to eat and fall out. So, attacking them all at once is very overwhelming.

Congratulate them and move on unless they are trying to stick by your side. If they don’t stick by your side, don’t take offense, they just want to reach everyone.


Marketing and Branding are effective; however, productions thrive off of word of mouth. Please when you enjoy something, be an incredible audience member and invite others. Better yet, come again! We’ll treat you the same. This ensures that we can do it again and again and again. We need more ride or die audience members!

Have a heart and a share button.


  1. BRAVISSIMO! Most folks are accustomed to “non-live” entertainment. When living, breathing bodies are on stage, audience protocol must respect that. Your audience 101 is a huge step in the right direction for live audience education.
    (BTW, it works for films too. 😉)

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