“Be a Better Audience Member: Tips from Guardian Critics on Seat Etiquette and Smartwatch Usage”

Estimated read time 9 min read


Please refrain from speaking during the beginning titles.

It is expected to refrain from talking while watching the film. However, it is acceptable to have quiet conversations during the commercials and trailers. Once the film begins, all talking should cease. The credits are not a prelude to the film, but rather an integral part of it.

Please refrain from kicking the seat in front of you or pressing your knees against it.

Many individuals struggle to grasp the concept of not kicking the seat in front of them. Physically kicking the seatback while sitting close behind is nearly impossible. The real issue is when one pushes their knees against the seatback, causing the person in front to be uncomfortably jolted forward, similar to a ride at an unpleasant amusement park. This behavior should be avoided.

Cinema etiquette

If you arrive late, please refrain from using your phone’s light to find available seats.

While watching a film, we do not want to be distracted by someone standing in front of the screen and using their phone light to scan the entire auditorium, as if searching for escapees from Stalag Luft III.


Do not give a disapproving look when someone needs to pass by you if you are sitting next to the aisle.

You have chosen to sit on the aisle for a quick exit later on. However, this means that you will need to either stand up or adjust your knees to accommodate others who need to pass by. It is important to do so politely and with a smile, as there will likely be a large number of people needing to get by. Do not act as if their behavior is unreasonable.

Please consume your chips before the movie begins.

It is acceptable to consume popcorn during a movie as long as it is not too loud, but chips should be avoided. Please refrain from making noise or rustling packaging once the movie begins. Do not try to discreetly eat during loud parts as it can be distracting. If you or someone you are with has left to get more food, be considerate when returning to your seat and avoid spilling any items on other people. -Peter Bradshaw


Stop fake laughing

It could be a result of kindness – giving off a comforting vibe to those involved, trying to contribute to the ambiance – but forced laughter is easily noticeable and when done collectively, it can be as loud and unpleasant as a jackhammer.

Don’t dawdle

Remaining motionless in the center of the lobby with your group, particularly after the bell has rung, hinders other individuals attempting to reach their seats. The bustling activity before the show is part of the thrill, but it becomes frustrating when there is a barrier of people who refuse to move.

Please limit your applause.

During a musical, after each song, I have observed actors pausing and waiting for it to finish before proceeding to the next scene. It is not like Pop Idol.


Switch your smartwatch to dim mode.

It can be frustrating to witness them flashing their lights throughout the auditorium every time someone makes a hand movement.

Skip the booze

Enjoying a drink during a theater performance is a common tradition for some people. However, the drinks being purchased during intermission are often subpar and contribute to the increase in noise levels. It may be more economical and less risky to have drinks at a pub after the show instead of indulging too much during the performance. – Arifa Akbar


Read the programme
This isn’t etiquette exactly, but enjoyment. Ballet can be baffling, and those mute swans aren’t going to tell you what’s going on. Programmes are pricey these days, but you can do your research and read the synopsis online beforehand for free, and gen up on who the dancers are, too – it’s amazing the difference that can make.

Do not bring drama into the spotlight.
It’s surprising, the self-righteousness that can break out in the stalls. The guy who tuts and shushes the poor person having a coughing fit and ends up causing more disruption than the cougher. Don’t be that person.

Wear what you like

Dressing up in a ballgown or wearing casual jeans are both acceptable for attending the ballet. Despite common beliefs, ballet is not exclusive to the elite. While some may argue that dressing up adds to the enjoyment of the experience, it is also perfectly acceptable to attend in work clothes. No one will be judging your outfit at the entrance of the ballet, unlike at the nightclub Berghain. These statements were made by Lyndsey Winship.


Art etiquette

Please decline the use of the audioguide.

Art institutions encourage viewer interaction, but often hinder it by providing devices that dictate interpretations. This creates a significant barrier between individuals and the artwork. It is important to view with your own perspective.

Have tolerance

Are children being loud in the gallery? This does not indicate that they are not observing and gaining knowledge. Are there couples talking loudly, a man behaving strangely, or a woman using her phone? They all have their own motivations. Appreciate the gallery in your own way and allow others to enjoy it in their own way.

Disregard the written messages on the wall.

Frequently, obtrusive and excessively instructive messages can be found, containing foolish and haughty remarks that can ruin your state of mind. My suggestion is to avoid reading them. If you require more details than just the artists’ names, title of the work, and date, you can search for it at a later time.

, that is the question

Should we engage with each other or not, that is the dilemma.

Some pieces of art may encourage participation, such as climbing or swinging, or even interacting with actors. However, these can also be overwhelming. Initially used as a means to challenge traditional establishments in the 1960s, these activities have now become institutionalized and may pressure individuals to conform to a corporate concept of fun. It is not necessary to join in – simply walk away.

Please refrain from attacking the artwork.

I do not consider the behavior of the public in galleries to be notably bad. I enjoy the tranquil joy that many of us experience while admiring art. However, I urge you not to damage artwork, even if it is for a noble purpose. It is not the appropriate location or method for protesting. – Jonathan Jones


Gig etiquette

Pause and consider: what amount of space am I occupying?

During performances, the majority of audience disruptions can be attributed to problems with personal space. To prevent aggravation and improve the overall experience for all, it is important to be mindful of one’s positioning, the level of noise in conversations, being respectful of smaller individuals, and avoiding excessive dancing.

Don’t bandsplain

There is no need to continuously discuss the recording date, tambourine player, or analyze the lyrics to your companion. Simply listen.

Freshen up

If you are attending a public event in a confined area where you will be near other people, please take appropriate actions: wash yourself, use deodorant, use a small amount of aftershave, brush your teeth, and make sure to control any bodily odors.

Adjust your phone thoughtfully.

I am not forbidding the use of your phone, as I am indifferent to whether or not you want to take a poor photo of Mick Fleetwood. However, I would like to suggest that you lower your screen brightness (as the glare can disrupt the mood) and switch your devices to silent mode (as notifications can ruin the ambiance of the torch songs).

“Please consume the refreshments in moderation.”

If you are struggling to see clearly and questioning if this band now has multiple bassists, it may be a sign that you have consumed too much alcohol. Additionally, being intoxicated at concerts can lead to taking up too much space, improper use of phones, talking incessantly, and engaging in unpleasant behaviors. Keep in mind that it is perfectly acceptable to order a glass of water from the bar. Laura Barton.

The Proms

for long periods in the arena.

To fully immerse yourself in the Proms, you must endure extended periods of standing in the arena.

Avoid sitting and instead, join the lively crowd in the mosh pit. Dedicated fans eagerly line up daily to purchase tickets for a standing spot in the arena. The sound quality in that area is reportedly excellent as well.

Make sure to arrive early for your concert.

There are limited restrooms available at the RAH, so if you want to avoid enduring an entire concert with a uncomfortably full bladder, make sure to allow enough time to find one and be ready to wait in line.

Participate in the call of “Heave!” whenever the lid of the piano is raised.

It’s a strange tradition at the Proms, yet the regular attendees seem to relish it. – Andrew Clements


Lighten up

Avoid crossing your arms and wearing a sad expression. As Mr. T once suggested, “pity the fool” – the performer on stage is working hard to entertain you. So give them a chance by relaxing your posture and facial muscles and trying to smile.

If you choose to sit in the front row, you’re inviting trouble.

Avoiding making eye contact is pointless. The opportunity has passed. You are now vulnerable in Row A.

Avoid posting humorous content on social media.

I am advising against it. For comedians, their jokes are their source of income, and sharing them online without permission is considered stealing. Furthermore, it’s individuals like you who force the rest of us to lock our phones in indestructible cases when attending a live comedy show. (How will I be able to check the football scores now?)

Don’t whoop

The comedian might inform us about my recent marriage, new baby, or award win. Congratulations. As we are British, please refrain from clapping or cheering. This is a standup performance, not a overly affectionate gathering.

Please refrain from heckling, unless it is deemed acceptable to do so.
Heckling – the cut-and-thrust of audience-performer backchat – used to be what made standup unique. Nowadays, it’s frowned upon by acts who do not wish their art to be sullied. But not by acts – such as James Acaster, with his new show Hecklers Welcome – who do. How can we know who’s who, and what’s what? The rule: read the room, and don’t be a dick. Brian Logan

Source: theguardian.com

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