About the Department Academic Programs Onstage Current Students Prospective Students Contact

Theatre Etiquette

Below are some widely accepted and observed guidelines for the working life of the theatre professional.  Your time to start being a professional is now.  These protocols contribute to a focused and pleasant atmosphere in which you or your colleagues can do your best work and make you the kind of person with whom others will want to work. 

There are a few rules particular to working here at the Radford University Theatre which should be mentioned.

  • We do not permit eating, drinking (except for water in a container with closeable cap) or smoking in the theatres here at Radford.
  • No food is permitted in the dressing rooms.
  • We ask that you stay clear of the back hall outside the dressing rooms after you are in costume and makeup.
  • Pay attention to important emergency evacuation and other safety procedures as will be outlined by the stage manager or technical director or other faculty.
  • Refrain from socializing with box office personnel while they are working.
  • Do not jump on or off the front edge of the Pridemore Playhouse stage.

Audience Member

  • If you cannot use your ticket, turn it in or call the box office and let them know.
  • Arrive and be seated before curtain.
  • If late, do not argue with the House Manager if not seated immediately.
  • Do not eat – ANYTHING!  If necessary, unwrap throat lozenges, mints or gum before the performance begins.
  • Do not talk with your fellow audience members during the play.
  • Do not use personal audio devices, computers or cell phones. This includes texting!
  • Do not play with laser pointers.
  • Turn off cell phones, pagers or any other electronic device which might cause a distraction during the performance.
  • Remove your hat during performance.
  • Avoid wearing strong perfumes or cologne.
  • Return promptly from intermission.
  • Do not recite, hum or sing along with the actors.
  • Do not “neck” or “make-out.”
  • Stand up if someone needs to pass in front of your seat.
  • Do not block aisles or doorways to greet friends and acquaintances.
  • Remain seated until the houselights come up – do not rush for the exit prematurely.
  • Take your trash with you, including programs.
  • Give your program back to the ushers after the show if you are not going to keep it.

Crew Member

  • Arrive earlier than your call so you are to work at the call time.
  • Sign in ON TIME and do not ask others to sign in for you.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for your call.
  • Do not eat or drink on or backstage.
  • Do not talk backstage except for show related business.
  • Do not talk to actors except for show related business – It may break their concentration.
  • Do not chat while on headset and turn off your mic when not talking.
  • Do not perform tasks not assigned to you.
  • Do not move, borrow or play with props.
  • Report broken props or scenic elements to the stage manager.
  • Acknowledge the stage manager’s calls with a polite “Thank You.”
  • If you make a mess, clean it up.
  • Keep your workspace tidy – even if it is not your mess.
  • Practical jokes have no place in performance – EVER!
  • Be courteous to performers and other crewmembers.
  • Say “Please” and “Thank You” often.
  • Crew Members should refrain from using personal cell phones and computers while on duty backstage, onstage or in the dressing room.

In The Shop

  • Do not borrow personal tools without asking – EVER!
  • Do not borrow a tool someone else is using without asking.
  • Put tools away when finished – even if you did not use it first.
  • If you make a mess – clean it up!  Clean as you work.
  • Ask before using someone else’s materials or scraps.
  • Do not talk to persons using power tools.  Wait until they are finished.
  • If you break a tool – REPORT IT!  You won’t get in trouble.
  • Horseplay is not appropriate in the shop or onstage.
  • If you don’t know what you are doing – ASK!
  • If you don’t know how to use a tool – ASK!
  • Warn others of hazards.
  • When you have finished a task, ask what you can do next – do not wait to be told.
  • Call out when moving overhead rigging or stage elevators.
  • Acknowledge warnings with a polite “thank you.”
  • If you drop something overhead yell “HEADS” immediately and loudly. 
  • Be courteous to fellow workers.
  • Report using the last of anything – better yet, report using nearly the last of anything.
  • Empty a full trashcan before adding to it.  If it is full, take it to the dumpster and bring an empty one back to replace it.
  • Foul language is never appropriate.
  • While working in the scene shop students should refrain from using personal cell phones or computers.

Performers

  • List all schedule conflicts with rehearsals/performances prior to casting.  It is your obligation to adhere to the rehearsal schedule once it is set.
  • Generally, it is good to audition for any/all roles in the play. 
  • Check callboard daily.
  • Report to all fittings on time, bathed, wearing deodorant and proper, clean underwear.
  • Arrive early, ready to work for every call – rehearsal or performance.  This affords time to be prepared with pencil, note paper, script and changed into rehearsal clothing.
  • If you will be late for, or absent from a rehearsal, even in an emergency contact the stage manager (SM) as soon as possible.
  • Rehearsal is a place to focus solely on the work at hand.  Personal problems/socializing must be shelved in favor of this work.
  • Be attentive in rehearsal. Not only will you be ready when you are needed but you will learn more quickly.  Direction, suggestion, information given another actor may affect/inspire you.
  • Respect others by remaining quiet and concentrated while they are working.  This even applies to when you are offstage or standing onstage while another actor is receiving direction.
  • Write down ANY AND ALL notes, blocking and direction you are given. TIP: It might be a good idea to write blocking in pencil so you can accommodate changes easily.
  • Observe the off-book deadline by knowing your lines as well as you can. Professionally, it is customary once a scene is blocked to have it memorized by the next time it is rehearsed.  HELPFUL HINT: Begin your memorization work in a different place each time so that you are not always covering the very same material each time you start working.
  • Call for line in rehearsal by staying in character with a minimum of hesitation and loss of focus.
  • Refrain from disputing a director’s note or engaging in lengthy explanations or excuses when you are given a direction. 
  • NEVER direct or prompt a fellow actor.
  • Respect the stage manager, designers and all crew.  Give them your full attention and, when applicable, acknowledge their calls and instructions with a polite, “Thank you”, so they know you hear and understand.
  • Do your homework – research, blocking and line memorization ----outside rehearsal.  Rehearsal is for trying things you have arrived at in this independent exploration.
  • Stay close to rehearsal hall and do not leave without being dismissed by, or informing, the stage manager (preferably) or the director.
  • In rehearsal, when stopped for direction/discussion/adjustments agree on a point in the text to resume and make sure all involved parties are ready to start.
  • Do not handle/use/sit upon any furniture, props, or costume pieces unless you are required to do so in the play and even then only when necessary.
  • Actors should refrain from using personal cell phones or computers during rehearsals and performances.
  • Maintain your focus, patience and positive attitude during technical rehearsals. Refrain from making suggestions or problem-solving unless you are included in the discussion.
  • Show respect for the theatre/rehearsal space by always cleaning up after yourself.  Eat, drink and smoke only in designated areas.
  • Sign in upon arrival for performance.  Sign in ONLY for yourself. Never let anyone do it for you.
  • To the best of your ability, play every performance respecting your audience regardless of its number or composition. Play the play as directed with no practical jokes or alterations for your own gain or because of the advice of critics, family or friends.
  • Be quiet backstage during "house conditions" (when the audience is in the theatre/front of house) and during the play itself.
  • No vocal warm-ups in common areas –green room, dressing room—after half hour call.
  • Check ALL props you use in the show prior to EVERY performance.  Make sure all are in working order and follow any safety protocol involving firearms, pyrotechnics or weapons.
  • As with all calls, report promptly to “PLACES”.
  • After use, return properties to their point of origin (usually a prop table backstage).
  • Smoking, drinking and eating in costume are forbidden.
  • Never use alcohol or drugs prior to a performance.
  • Remain backstage while in makeup and costume (unless otherwise directed to do so).
  • Hang up or put away your costume as instructed after use.
  • Keep offstage after the play until the audience is completely cleared from the house.
  • Do not wander from the stage/dressing/lounge area during performance.
  • Instruct visitors to meet you at the stage door or in lobby following the performance.  Only personnel DIRECTLY INVOLVED in the show are allowed in the backstage/dressing areas.
  • Keep your personal dressing/makeup station neat and orderly using only the space allotted to you.
  • Never borrow another actor’s supplies such as makeup, cleaning items, without their permission.
  • Remove all personal items from theatre promptly after closing performance.
  • Return any rented script material (sides, music, etc.) properly erased of your markings and in good order to the stage manager on closing night.