Theatre Etiquette

We're All On The Same Team: THEATRE ETIQUETTE

The fantastic thing about going to see live theater is that it is a shared community event where everyone plays an important part. You hear pre-show announcements about theater etiquette every time you come to SCT. Happily, the vast majority of our audience members help us make the theater-going experience better for everyone by complying with the requests. But if you or the kids in your life have ever wondered why we ask the things we do, here are some explanations:

Please completely turn off all electronic devices including cell phones, cameras and video recorders.

Why turn them completely off? So they won’t get used. Airplane mode will stop incoming calls and messages, but it won’t stop people from using their devices to take pictures, record audio or video, read books or play games during the show.

Phone calls and texting are a distraction to the audience and performers, and can pose a safety hazard as well as interfere with our sound system.

The distraction factor is an easy one to explain. It is very difficult for people to ignore a lit screen. Walk through a room where a TV is on and you are going to at least glance at it. In a darkened theater, eyes are drawn to the light. Everyone sitting anywhere behind someone looking at a lit phone will turn their attention to that phone. And the actors on stage can see the screen lighting up the holder’s face. A ringing phone or text message alert takes everyone in the theater, on stage and off, out of the moment.

How does this create a safety hazard? Distraction can be a problem for actors and crew whose focus needs to stay on doing their work safely, especially when working on, with or around moving scenic pieces or as scenery is being lowered to the stage.

Do electronics in the audience really interfere with the sound system? Yes. You would not notice it over the speaker system in the house, but our crew is on wireless headsets, and electronic devices in the audience can cause interference. If crew can’t hear cues and communicate with each other, they can’t do their job safely or efficiently.

Also, taking pictures or video is not allowed.

We are fortunate to work with very talented performers, designers, playwrights and directors at SCT. One of our responsibilities to these artists is to help protect their work from illegal distribution or piracy. Contractually, the use of images of their designs and recordings of their work is very specifically controlled. We appreciate that people want to capture a memory to enjoy later, but it is actually a violation of contract, and of trust between the artists and the audience.

You are welcome to take pictures in the lobby, of family and friends in their seats before or after the show, or when talking to the actors at autographs after the show, with their permission. If you are not sure if a photograph is permitted, please ask.

If you are with someone who becomes noisy or restless, please be kind to your neighbors and use our quiet room which is located in the back of the theater over your right shoulder (Charlotte Martin Theatre), or left shoulder (Eve Alvord Theatre).

We love our audiences and want them to express themselves during the show—laughing, clapping, shouting in amazement. It’s part of the community experience. But everyone has moments when they just don’t want to be where they are. And sometimes they express this quite loudly. The quiet room offers a place to see and hear the show, while having a chance to settle in private. Please keep in mind that although it is called the “quiet room” it is not completely sound-proof. 

If you need to exit during the performance, please use one of the four upstairs doors (CMT), or go around the back of the seats and down the staircase on the other side of the partition (EAT)

We’re pretty sure no one wants to become part of the show if they need to run out of the theater to use the restroom or get a drink of water.

In the Charlotte Martin Theatre, using the upstairs doors is less distracting for everyone. Actors often use the areas near the lower doors for entrances and exits.

The Eve Alvord Theatre is a wonderfully intimate space. Exiting during the show will always draw some attention, but using the suggested path behind the partition avoids crossing directly in front of the stage. 

Thank you for being a part of the SCT family. You can find details on what to expect during your theatre trip on our FAQ page. If you have any questions about how to plan your visit to Seattle Children's Theatre, click here, or contact us at


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