First-timers’ guide

If you’re not a regular theatregoer, you may not know exactly what to do before and during a play on your first visit. And because you’re unfamiliar with the rituals and customs of the space, you may be worried about doing something wrong. We’ve put together some information to help when you decide to see your first show at Howick Little Theatre.

Do I need to buy a ticket first?
No, you can usually buy a ticket at the door, but we recommend that you check online first to ensure there are door sales available on the night you wish to go.

What time does the theatre open?
The front doors open at 7.15pm for an 8pm start, or 1.15pm for the 2pm matinees.

Where do I park?
There are two large free car parks near the theatre, and four mobility parking spaces right outside the door.

What should I wear?
There is no dress code, so wear whatever you feel comfortable in.

Do you have a bar and food?
The bar opens at 7.15pm, or 1.15pm on Sunday matinees. We have drinks, ice creams and snacks available. Complimentary water is also available.The bar is open again during interval. We also serve free tea and coffee during the interval. On Friday and Saturday nights, the bar is open after the play ends.

What time will I be able to take my seat in the theatre?
The theatre doors open 10 minutes before the performance starts. An usher will show you to your seat. Please don’t be late. We start the plays promptly at the specified time, and if you arrive late, we may not be able to let you in until a suitable pause in the play allows it, and then you may have to take a seat in the aisle, instead of on the raised seating. You may even need to wait until the interval to be allowed into the theatre.

How will I know whether there’s an interval?
Read your programme for performance information. The director may include comments that contextualise what you’re about to see. You’ll also learn how many acts are in the show and whether or not there is a 15-minute interval.

If I need to go to the toilet during the play, will I be allowed back into the theatre?
Possibly not, so we recommend using the restrooms before the play starts and/or during the interval. Howick Little Theatre is an intimate theatre, so leaving during the play is very disruptive for your fellow audience members as well as the actors on stage.

Can I keep my phone turned on?
No, please turn off your phone completely, rather than setting it on vibrate or silent. Alarms can still go off on those settings, and it can still light up. The sounds and lights distract fellow audience members and the performers, so no texting, and don’t use your phone as a torch to read your programme. Remember: this is live theatre, not a movie, so the actors can hear and see you.

Is it okay to snack during the performance?
The pre-show announcements – the recorded speech before the play begins – will ask you to turn off your phone and sit back and relax. If you think you’ll need a lolly or cough lozenge in the next 60 minutes, now is the time to unwrap it. Unwrapping sweets and snacks of any kind during the performance can be very distracting to fellow audience members. Eating is for the interval. The crinkling really can ruin the performances for others around you and is very distracting for the actors. 

Can I take photos or videos during the performance?
No photography or recording is permitted. It’s unlawful and also distracting to the performers.

When should I applaud?
For straight plays and musicals, blackouts usually cue applause. But if you’re unsure, follow the lead of the rest of the audience.

Is it okay to talk during the play?
No, talking during a performance is one of the most distracting things you can do. Don’t turn to your neighbour and ask what’s going on. Wait until the interval. The more you talk, the more the people around can’t hear the actors on stage. If you’ve brought children with you, it’s a good idea to arrive early and explain the story before the show starts. If you’re attending a show with music you know and love, please save the sing-a-long for your trip home.

What if I need first aid or feel unwell while I’m visiting the theatre?
Speak to one of our front-of-house staff, as they have access to our first-aid kit or, if it is a medical emergency, they can call for an ambulance, if required.