Just be chill, guys.

We’re back to in-person performances! This is incredibly exciting. Since we’re still readjusting to being in an audience, we at Bwog thought we would go over some ground rules for audience etiquette, especially since many student groups have performances in the coming weeks!

1. Be on time.

Be on time for performances. Directors, choreographers, and stage managers the world over will tell you that “early is on time, on time is late, and late is dead.” Thus, aim to arrive at the performance venue at least 10 minutes before the performance starts. If there’s an intermission, and you leave the theater, make sure you’re back in your seat before the show starts again. Most intermissions are 10 to 15 minutes, so keep that time constraint in mind.

2. Don’t leave the performance. 

In general, try not to leave the performance in the middle. If you have to leave, wait until a transition between scenes or performances, and leave quietly. (This is especially easy to do if there’s a blackout, and you can leave in the cover of darkness) To re-enter the performance, wait until the end of a scene or performance. If you hear silence and/or applause, those are cues that you can slip quietly back in.

3. Support your friends but in a chill way.

The great thing about student performing arts on this campus is that it’s just that: students! Our peers! The people we love! Your best friends might be onstage, but don’t heckle them or call out in the middle of a performance. This is unprofessional and can be distracting to both the performers and the audience.

4. Turn off your phone. 

Put it on airplane mode, do not disturb, or silent: anything to ensure that it won’t ring or vibrate during the show. Additionally, don’t check your phone during the show, even during transitions or blackouts. In a dark audience, the phone screen light really stands out and can be a distraction to performers and audience members.

5. Congratulate people.

Putting on a show is a lot of work. In the post-performance rush, there are a lot of hugs and congratulations, as the audience greets the people who have just performed. Feel free to congratulate someone in the show even if you don’t personally know them, it goes a long way!

6. Don’t talk shit in or around the performance venue. 

You might have some strong opinions about the performance you just saw. However, don’t share these in the immediate vicinity of the theater. You don’t know who might be in earshot, and you could offend them.

Let’s pretend this is a Columbia performance space via the Bwarchives