For Renaissance Theaterworks, the audience is a crucial part of the theater experience we offer.
Newcomers to theater often like to know how experiencing theater is different from being audience members at events like movies, ball games or even watching television! Here are some tips explaining what your role is as an audience member.
Before you arrive:
- Tickets: You will need to purchase a ticket for a Renaissance theater production (on the phone, at the box-office, or online). Your ticket will be for a specific date, time and show. Be sure to double-check your information when you buy it, because tickets are not refundable and are exchangeable for a fee -- unless you are a season subscription holder (which we’d love you to become!) when it is complimentary.
- Being on time: It’s best to plan to leave plenty of time for parking (the Third Ward can get pretty busy) and arrive at the Broadway Theater Center in our Studio Theatre lobby about 15 minutes before show time. (The theater is usually open for seating about 30 minutes before show time.) That way you have ample leisurely time in the lobby before the show starts – with some time left over for reading the program in your seat!
- Your personal needs: We have two rest rooms and a water fountain in our lobby. Another enticement for early arrival: before the show, you can purchase a refreshment (coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer) in our lobby or in the Skylight Bar and Cabaret on the second floor, which has a full bar and light snacks. Big bonus at Renaissance Theaterworks: you can bring your beverage into the theater! Once a performance begins, however, you won’t be able to leave your seat until intermission or until the performance ends. (Some of our shorter shows have no intermission – if so, we will let you know.)
- What to wear: Renaissance is a casual environment, but audience attire ranges from blue jeans to dresses/suits and ties. So wear whatever makes you feel comfortable.
When you arrive:
- Tickets: You can pick up your tickets at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, unless you have them already. When you are ready to enter, someone will greet you at the door of the Studio Theatre and ask to see your ticket, indicating your row and seat number. (Only “In the Works” events or readings have open seating with no assigned seats.) An usher will then show you to your assigned seat and give you a program filled with fascinated information to peruse before the show!
- Cell phones: When you enter the theater please turn off or silence your cell phones (please not even on “vibrate”!) or other beeping electronic devices so that they don’t disturb other audience members or the performers. Texting is not permitted during the show. And please remember that if you turn your phone on at intermission, check and turn it off again when you return to the theater. (We know it’s easy to forget -- but in live theater this is so important!)
LATE seating policy:
- Arriving late: If you arrive after the performance has begun, we are sorry, but we can’t guarantee seating you immediately since it might disturb the performance for other audience members or the actors. If you are late, our House Manager will try to seat you at an opportune moment using a flashlight – though possibly not in your assigned seats. (Occasionally Renaissance will have a production which does not allow late seating at all – if so, we will try to inform you in advance.)
During the performance:
- Listen: This is important because you will be hearing actors perform live for you. It’s helpful if you listen well so that you don’t miss anything.
- Respond: Since this is a live performance before a live audience, actors do like to know you’re there! That means please feel free to laugh when you’re amused and applaud when you like something. Live actors and their performance will be affected by your reactions, so of course, please respond respectfully and appropriately.
- Be considerate: If you can help it, please try not to kick the back of the seats in front of you, read or rustle your program, open wrappers or talk during performances. (And of course, never text!).
After the performance has ended:
- Curtain call: At the end of the performance there is usually a curtain call when the actors come on stage to receive your appreciation. Please stay seated during the curtain call and then exit with the rest of the audience.
- Applause: When the performance is over, traditionally you can show your appreciation by applauding for the performers. In some performances, you might hear people applaud or cheer during the performance, but usually the audience holds their applause until after the performance has ended.
- If you really liked the show… Actors are thrilled when they receive a “Standing Ovation.” If you want to pay them the highest praise, you might stand and applaud. But no pressure: it’s reserved for what you consider the best of performances!
- Bravo! Encore! At some curtain calls you might hear enthusiastic audience members shouting “Bravo!” – or if it’s a musical production, “Encore!” (for another song). These are forms of high praise and appreciation that mark a special performance.