Attending a show at the theatre is an exciting experience – one you will never forget. This is your mini guide on what to expect from your first visit.
Planning and organising your visit
How do I get there?
Once you’ve booked your ticket, check out the theatre’s website to find out how to get there (Newcastle Theatre Royal has this handy guide with key venue info.) Planning your journey in advance can be very helpful so that you’re not late.
Top tip: Check out the latecomer’s policy too just so you know what might happen if you are late.
What if I have access needs?
If you have accessibility needs, there will be a page dedicated to access on the theatre’s website including audio description, BSL and captions, relaxed performances, and touch tours. For example, here’s Leeds Grand Theatre’s access page. As well as detailing where visitors can find lifts and accessible bathrooms inside the building, some venues even offer online virtual tours so you can feel comfortable with where everything is located before travelling.
Tickets, show times and clothing
Where can I find out about tickets and show times?
Before travelling it’s important to check the time, date and whether you have an E-ticket or need to collect your tickets from the Box Office. Whether you’re journeying quite far to the theatre, or you live in the same city, you should make note of when doors open for a performance.
Top tip: check the show’s running time so you can plan your transport for when the show finishes (the last thing you want is to be stuck in the city late at night after a fun evening at the theatre!)
What do I wear?
In terms of clothes, just wear what you feel comfortable in. Theatres will not specify what to wear because it’s all about having an enjoyable experience, so just do you!
Photo Emily Nuttall.
Arriving at the theatre
What do I do once I arrive at the theatre?
Make sure you arrive early. At the doors you will be greeted by an usher who will scan your tickets and check your bags for security purposes. Once you have entered the venue, now is the perfect time to pre-order your drinks and snacks to avoid queues in the interval. This can be done at the bar or sometimes via the venue’s website. It can also be helpful to leave any coats or bags inside the cloakroom.
Where can I purchase a programme?
Each show will usually have a programme you can buy. They are sold all around the theatre by ushers and you can even spot them being sold inside the auditorium.
Top tip: They often detail the plot or synopsis of what you are about to watch whether it’s a play, ballet or musical, so they can be very handy. Programmes will also list the cast and creative people who helped bring the show to life.
Taking your seat
Doors will usually open around 30 minutes before the show starts and each ticket will list your specific seating area so you know where to go inside the auditorium (venue websites will usually have a seating plan like this one from Nottingham Theatre Royal) For instance, the stalls will always be located on the ground floor whereas balcony and dress circle seats will be higher up and accessible via the stairs or lift. When you have arrived at the correct floor, an usher will direct you to your seat (Newcastle Theatre Royal has this useful ‘floor guide’ map.)
Once seated, it’s time to relax, look through your programme and turn off your phone. Most, if not all, venues do not allow the use of mobile phones inside the auditorium as they can be distracting for other audience members. It is also strictly prohibited to record any part of the performance so please refrain from doing so. Doors will close a few minutes before the performance starts so, please ensure you are seated on time. As the performance begins, the lights will dim, and the curtains will draw back… Relax and enjoy the show!