In the interests of your comfort and enjoyment, please note the following.
Good evening and welcome to this evening's performance. We appreciate that this is an exciting and thrilling occasion for you. After all, the last time you went to the theatre was to see that pantomime when you were six, and you're only at this show because that actor that you like off the TV is in it. Well, that's fine, and we want to make sure you get the most from this experience, which is why we have prepared this list of do's and don'ts.
1. You know like when you're at home and you can shout at your TV or turn to your friend and say 'I'm sure that's so-and-so who was in that thing'? Yeah, well, that's not how it works here. If the performers don't tell you to shut the hell up, then your fellow audience members certainly will.
2. Do not be surprised if the production does not have quite the same visual impact as the latest blockbuster at your local multiplex. Whilst much can be achieved using lighting, costume and innovative set design, theatrical performances rarely make use of CGI or snappy editing, and any location work involved would likely require the entire audience to be marched out of the auditorium and put onto a bus. However, very nearly every play you're likely to see at this venue will be in 3D.
3. You must not attempt to take an active part in the performance. Actors can be very fussy about this and rarely invite you to participate, either as an anonymous voice from the darkness or as an additional member of the cast on stage. You may be surprised to learn that the players work from a script and that the events you see unfolding before you have been worked out in advance. Somebody who takes it upon themselves to call out "The butler did it" or "He's behind you" is unlikely to be able to contribute to proceedings in any meaningful way.
Of course, there are some productions which actively encourage just this sort of participation - for example pantomime, some of the lower forms of light entertainment and certain 'experimental' works. But the advice still stands - you are rarely ever able to contribute to proceedings in any meaningful way and must never be tempted to take part.
4. Do not attempt to watch the performance via your phone, tablet or similar device. We are aware that modern devices can capture colour and movement with remarkable fidelity, but you will find that real life still has far greater resolution. If you feel that you simply cannot be parted from your phone please consider surrendering your seat to somebody who actually wants to watch the performance.
5. It is acceptable to consume snacks and drinks in the auditorium so long as any distractions are kept to an absolute minimum. What is not generally tolerated is unpacking a sizeable picnic, ordering a takeaway or lighting a barbecue before the final curtain has come down.
We are confident that by following this simple guidance you will have an enjoyable and positive experience, and we are hopeful that you will want to return again and again. So please, find your seats, sit down and for God's sake shut up. Thank you.