Behaviour in the Auditorium

From Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment


From the opening COMMENTARY:

The nature of live performance continues to become more and more diverse as do the audiences that are encouraged to attend and the technology that they will bring with them. The creative team responsible for a production and the management of the venue at which it is presented must determine the nature and ambience they wish to encourage in the auditorium during the performance. Whatever this decision, it must be clearly understood and agreed by the production team and the management. If not anticipated or expected there are a number of behaviours and activities which if present in an auditorium may distract members of the audience, performers, backstage and front of house

Management of behaviour within an auditorium

N2.10 Whether it is decided that any or all of these behaviours are appropriate or otherwise will depend upon the production, the venue, the intended audience and the particular performance of any production. Some of the behaviours which the production team and management should consider and decide upon are:

a)                   consumption of food and drink in the auditorium;

b)                  conversation between audience members during the performance;

c)                   entry, exit and re-entry to the auditorium during the performance;

d)                  use of communication devices in the auditorium;

e)                   use of self-illuminated devices in the auditorium;

f)                    movement about the auditorium during the performance;

g)                   presence of very young children;

h)                  use of photography or sound recording equipment in the

Note: Some photography and sound recording may infringe copyright.

N2.11 The agreed appropriate behaviours for any individual performance should be clearly understood by the production team and the management. The Duty Manager and all staff should be thoroughly briefed on the likely appropriate behaviours for each performance. They should ensure they communicate to the audience the appropriate behaviour for each performance. This may be achieved by a number of means including:

a)                   providing advance information in publicity material, at the time or point of booking and in group booking information;

b)                  providing signage at the venue;

c)                   reiteration of information by attendants in public circulation spaces and upon initial entry to the auditorium;

d)                  signage and announcements in the auditorium prior to the commencement of the

N2.12 Carers, group leaders and supervisors who are accompanying individuals or groups who through age or for other reason require guidance as to the appropriate behaviour in different circumstances should be assisted in the following ways:

a)                   the Duty Manager should ensure that carers, group leaders and supervisors are fully informed of the appropriate behaviour for any performance for which tickets are being booked;

b)                  assistance and explanation should be provided for anyone who wishes to clarify the type of behaviour that is appropriate at any performance;

c)                   the Duty Manager may require a minimum of one supervisor to ten group members for groups such as school parties;

d)                  supervisors should sit interspersed with group members, so that they may assist with any problem including explaining the intended reaction to the actors and the action on stage and such matters as restricting as far as possible visits to the toilets to the intervals.


Also relevant might be


B5.05 Consideration should be given to how to make the environment, facilities and programming of arts venues accessible to people with mental impairment and diverse neurological conditions. Impairment or behaviour may be as a result of conditions which include but are not limited to Dementia, Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome etc.

B5.06 Further guidance may be found in Becoming a dementia-friendly arts venue: A practical 

This guidance is intended to be permissive, i.e. to allow a much broader range of behaviour than exhibited by  the traditional theatre audience and to ensure everyone knows what to expect e.g. dancing in the aisles,  but it might now need to make explicit some of the ways in which audiences may wish to behave. If you have suggestions for new guidance to be added to Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment please contact .

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