Tuxedos aren’t necessary … and neither are cellphones.
If you’re new to live theater, attending a performance may seem a little intimidating. Do you dress up, or go casual? What happens if you’re late?
Knowing how to dress — and behave — can make the experience that much more enjoyable.
A few Kane County theater pros weigh in on the following topics.
While Kane County venues don’t have strict dress codes, a night at the theater is a great reason to dress up.
“You don’t need a dinner jacket or an evening gown, but people do dress up a little more than they would for an average day,” says Dominic Cattero, manager of the Batavia Fine Arts Centre.
While it depends on the venue — smaller, community theaters are usually more casual — Jennifer Ring, president of the Albright Theater Company in Batavia, agrees.
“It’s not something you do all the time, so it’s a special occasion to dress up,” she says.
A good rule of thumb is to think jackets and dress slacks for men, and skirts, dresses or nice pants for women, but leave hats and caps at home.
“People can’t see over them in the theater,” says Donna Steele, founder of the Steel Beam Theater in St. Charles.
Cameras, cellphones and texting
Leave cameras at home. That means all cameras, including those on cellphones and iPads.
“Copyright laws prohibit any photography or recording,” Steele says. “It’s verboten in the theater.”
Flashing lights not only distract the performers, but also fellow audience members.
“It’s distracting to hear clicks and motors whirring right in front of you,” says Linda Lee Cunningham, director of Geneva’s State Street Dance Studio’s production of “The Nutcracker.” “People just want to be immersed in this magical show that’s been around for 100 years.”
As for phones and texting, set phones to vibrate and answer calls at intermission.
“If you’re texting in a dark theater, everyone can see it,” says John Gawlik, artistic director of the Fox Valley Repertory in St. Charles.
Arrivals and snacks
Unlike movies, live theater doesn’t kick off with 15 minutes of trailers. Pay attention to the curtain time.
“It’s a huge problem because we’re a small theater, and when someone is late, it’s very disruptive,” Ring says. “Our theater opens a half hour before the show, so there’s plenty of time. You really miss a lot if you’re late, because the first few minutes of the play are when they lay out the story.”
Though food is often sold during intermission, don’t bring snacks into the theater or auditorium.
“Candy and snacks make noise when you open the wrappers, but we do sell beverages in the lobby and allow the audience to bring in what they’ve purchased,” Gawlik says. kc