Ever found your finger hovering over the ‘book tickets’ button because you’re not quite sure whether taking the kids is a good idea?

If so you’re not alone, and when it comes to going to the theatre who can blame us when there are certain dos and don’ts, especially if you’ve got kids in tow.

theatre etiquette

After 18 long months the curtain is finally going up at theatres up and down the country, and if you’ve got tickets for a family show booked it might be a good idea to brush up on your theatre etiquette before you go.

So, in this collaborative post, here’s a basic guide to theatre manners – for parents and kids!

A basic guide to theatre etiquette for parents & kids

The theatre has a charm that makes it feel different from most entertainment options you would consider with kids. Whether it’s the great history that surrounds many of the buildings that hold these shows or because it’s live acting, the fact is it’s different and there’s a form of etiquette that accompanies it.

Pick your show wisely

First and foremost, the name of the game is picking your show wisely. It goes without saying that a kids’ show will have slightly different ‘rules’ compared to an event aimed at people across a wider age range.

theatre etiquette

For example, let’s take the Frozen show around Covent Garden. Suffice to say, this is a show that will be packed to the rafters with small children. It means that the rulebook goes out of the window, and chit-chat is almost expected throughout. The same certainly wouldn’t be tolerated at shows which attract more mature audiences.

In short, it’s about reading the room. There’s at least some etiquette that children will need to be aware of for every show (for example, they can’t go wandering up to the stage as and when they please). However, if you opt for something that’s suitable for their age, there’s far less to think about.

Aisle seats can be your best friend

Regardless of the setting, seating is always a consideration when you’re out and about with kids, but in the theatre, there’s even more to think about.

theatre etiquette

For older children it doesn’t matter quite as much, but if you’re testing the water with younger ones try to find an aisle seat whenever possible. They at least allow for a ‘quick escape’, and you’re not going to be wedged in by other audience members as you think of your excuses to get out.

In terms of where to sit in the theatre, this will, unfortunately, depend on your budget because the better seats are more expensive. That said, some theatres do have booster seats so your child can see better over a row of heads, so it’s always best to check before booking.

Look out for the age guidance

Like movies, some shows are more suitable for kids than others. There isn’t a BBFC-like authority, however, if a show says that it is suited to kids 14 and over, you should follow the guidance.

theatre etiquette

While you might think that your 12-year-old is mature enough to cope with such a show, these age ratings are usually provided following a hefty thought process, so it pays to abide by them.

Have you been back to the theatre with kids since lockdown lifted? I’d love to hear about your experience!

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This is a collaborative post.