Seeing a West End show is always something to look forward to, whether you’ve seen one show or hundreds.

Theatre etiquette is extremely important to ensuring everyone in the auditorium has a pleasant experience. Many people in the theatre invest a great deal of time and money into creating a fabulous theatregoing experience. So to have it taken away by members of the public that behave in an offensive manner can disrupt the entire show.

It’s best to not speak during a show, or keep speaking to a bare minimum, as the noise can distract others and potentially the performers. If you need to say something important during a performance, do it during the applause, or whisper quietly. We advise refraining from talking about anyone’s performance, especially if you have a negative opinion. Anyone could be listening.

Can I eat and drink in the theatre?

You are allowed to eat and drink in West End theatres. Many theatres sell light refreshments, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages before the performance begins and during the interval. There is no limit to how many refreshments you can purchase at the theatre.

There are no restrictions on what you can eat and drink in the auditorium. However, there are some foods which you should avoid. If possible, avoid eating smelly foods which will waft around the auditorium. Also it’s best not to bring foods with noisy packaging, like crisp packets and sweet wrappers. If you’re going to open a packet or wrapper during a performance, wait until a moment of applause so that the sound isn’t quite as obvious. Nobody wants to hear food packets rustling during a silent moment on stage.

Many London theatres allow you to bring your own food and drink into the auditorium. Before going to see a show, we recommend checking the venue’s individual policies. You don’t want to throw any food into the waste bin.

Can I smoke in the theatre?

Smoking in the theatre is not permitted. Most theatres are indoor spaces, and smoking is prohibited in indoor venues. If you need to smoke during the show, then wait for the interval, where you can head outside and light up. There are some productions which use smoke, and actors may use cigarettes during the show. But that doesn’t give you an excuse to smoke!

Can I use my mobile phone in the theatre?

During the show, you are not allowed to use your mobile phone in the theatre. Don’t text, make calls, or answer calls during a live performance: It’s extremely distracting for theatregoers around you, and can be offensive to the actors performing on stage. We recommend turning off your phone, or at least putting it on airplane mode, before a performance. If your phone does go off, decline the calls immediately and put your phone in your bag. If you are caught using your phone throughout a performance, your phone may be consficated.

Can I take pictures during a performance?

You cannot take pictures during a performance. If you are caught taking pictures, a front of house member will tell you to stop, and if you are caught doing so multiple times, you may be asked to leave the theatre. There are a few West End shows which invite audiences to take pictures in the curtain call. If that’s the case, then make sure your phone does not obstruct anyone else’s view, and turn off your flash.

Can I film during a performance? 

You are not allowed to film during a performance.

After a performance, any member of the public can wait at the stage door to hopefully catch a glimpse of their favourite actors after a show. It’s important to note that seeing performers at the stage door is not included in the ticket price — it is down to an actor’s individual discretion whether they greet people at the stage door.

Treat performers with the same respect that you would give to friends, family, and colleagues. If you do get to meet actors at the stage door, then show your appreciation for the actor and make sure to say thank you! Be kind and considerate of other fans around you too. If you give everyone a fair opportunity to say hello to their favourite performers, it’ll make for a pleasant stage door experience for everyone.