Sat. Aug 15th, 2020 Magazine

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Audience Member Etiquette for Millennials

3 min read
  • Alex Chester

Hi my name is Alex and I am a Millennial. Something I really hate to admit. 

As a performer and a theatre goer and fellow millennial, I have seen the decline in the audience member. They have no clue as to how to behave at a show. And to be perfectly honest the “normal” theatre goer is dying out. I also blame social media and reality TV, and guess what? I blame my fellow Millennials. Our attention spans suck. 

I believe having art is a necessary thing to have in ones life if you want to be a well-rounded individual. The theatre arts can change the world and change history. We can fight tyrants (cough Trump) and we can spread love instead of hate. 

On that note I present to you my top 10 “etiquettes” for my fellow theatre going Millennial. 

1. See theatre. It doesn’t have to be Broadway, hell it doesn’t even have to be a bad community production of Oklahoma. Even seeing an open mic session at your local cafe will broaden your view of the world.

2. Support diversity and inclusion. Our world is a huge melting pot of beautiful diverse individuals. Shouldn’t our art reflect that? 

3. Protest theatre arts that are not inclusive. The only way we are going to see a change in society and the arts, is to fight for it. DON’T go throwing a flaming bag of shit at a theatre for crying out loud. DO tweet at the theatre company that isn’t open to diversity. Tell them you want their shows to reflect the growing multiracial population! Talk about it with your friends, and I hope this goes without saying – don’t buy a ticket to see said non-inclusive production.

4. Stop texting on your phone while seeing a show. It’s rude and annoying and this is one of the reasons why people hate millennials. The whole point of a theatre experience is to disconnect, to immerse oneself into a whole other world. Be present. 

5. Stop talking to your friend next to you during a show. Why bother even going to the theatre If you are gonna blab the entire time? Once again it’s rude and annoying. Have some class. 

6. Most theatres allow you to bring in an alcoholic beverage for the performance. Please don’t get wasted during the show. There is nothing worse than a sloppy audience member having to be escorted out by an usher. This is not Vegas… unless you happen to be in Vegas seeing a show… then you do you boo, you do you. 

7. Hate the show? Don’t bash it while you are still in the theatre, (especially if you are in the business) wait until you are a safe distance away. I have seen careers ruined by this. Walls have ears. 

8. Don’t go to the theatre sick. Why? Why would you go to a show coughing like you have consumption? Gross. 

9. Do not jump on the stage to see if there is an outlet where you can charge your phone. Please please please respect the theatre and its artists. Stay through the damn bows. Those actors worked hard and they deserve to be applauded. So please give them that much. There is something so disrespectful to me as watching audience members bolt for the door during bows. 

10. Pick up after yourself! Don’t leave a mess behind. 

BONUS: DO NOT put your feet up on the seat in front of you! This is a theatre! Think of it as a house of worship. Respect! 

Now go out there and enjoy the theatre! 

(Photo: Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao)

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