How To Be a Supportive Audience Member this Season

As this summer turns into fall, Greater Boston will enter an exciting new season in theatre and performing arts. Many local venues will be reopening their doors for the first time since 2020, and welcoming back our community’s hardworking artists and performers, as well as the skilled stagehands, front-of-house teams, and everyone that works behind the scenes to make sure an event is a success. We’re also welcoming in a new era of art-making that will see more opportunities to watch performances digitally at home.

Whether you’re someone who will be first in line at your favorite venue, or if you’re excited to tune in with snacks from the comfort of home, there’s something for everyone coming up this fall. We’re sharing thoughts and tips about how to get the most out of your experience in this new chapter, including being prepared, in-person etiquette, and special ways to maximize your joy when viewing from home.

For the latest events, check out what’s new on the ArtsBoston Calendar.

1. Stay in the know.

One certain takeaway from the past year is to always expect the unexpected! The pandemic is still a developing situation, and it’s possible that there may be updates or changes to a performance’s timing or procedures. As you’re gearing up to take your seat, make sure that you’re all set up to receive communications from the venue you’re attending, either via email, phone, or social media. If you need to keep track of the moving parts of your experience, start a new folder on your email, or keep a note in your calendar about any important know-before-you-go information you’ll want to review before you head out.

3. Respect fellow audience members.

It’s important to remember that everyone has been on a unique journey the past year, and we’re all in our own places with how we’re returning to being in physical community with others. Be understanding that we’re all adjusting to new routes, rules, and details that may not have been part of the experience in seasons past. As much as possible, try to have spatial awareness and be conscious when attending venues where you may be asked to be socially distant from other parties.

3. Know that venue and event staff are ready to welcome you and help if need be.

If you have any questions about what to expect for any type of event you’re getting ready for that has not already been addressed by the organization, always feel free to reach out. Plus, when you arrive, make note of (and say hello to!) staff members around who are ready to help give you directions, accept your ticket, and welcome you to the space.

4. Share your favorite parts of the experience.

Don’t be afraid to show your excitement about returning to live events! Every time you applaud, speak positive words from the audience, and share your lobby photos with us, you’re affirming the value and benefit of the arts, and arts workers on stage and behind the scenes want to share in your joy. Let us know in person, or on social media, what you loved about the art you saw, share ideas that might have been sparked for you, or what you hope to see next!

5. Get in on the chat action during digital events.

If you’re planning on settling in for a streamed or on-demand performance, don’t forget that there are ways to feel connected to others from home. During live events, say hello in the chat or in the comments! Keep an eye out for ways performing arts organizations are creating digital community this season, and join conversations that may be happening on social media with hashtags and by tagging the organization.

6. Have fun!

Always remember that there’s a magic to how we witness art as part of an audience, whether physically or when everyone tunes in at the same time from different locations. Allow yourself to get lost in the moment, relax, and notice what new feelings or thoughts come up for you as you take in what you’re experiencing. Give yourself the freedom to respond, be changed, interact, and take things with you as you go along your way. Art will always be alive in our community, and we hope you enjoy taking yourself on your next adventure.

Header Photo: ICA Boston

Elena Morris (she/her/hers) is ArtsBoston’s Community Outreach and Marketing Manager. She is a dramaturg and arts administrator passionate about forward thinking in the arts. Elena holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University, focusing her studies on dramatic literature and movement.  @elena_pearl
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