Theater Etiquette

Performances begin on time and latecomers will not be seated while a work is in progress. For Nutcracker performances, latecomers will be seated at the discretion of management.

Please turn off all cell phones, alarms, pagers, and electronic devices during the performance as their lights and sounds are distracting to the performers and other patrons.

Please refrain from talking or whispering during the performance.

Photography and recording of any sort is not allowed during the performance.

Please remain in your seat for the entire performance. If you must leave, exit during intermission. In an emergency, wait for an appropriate break in the performance.

Food and beverages are not allowed in the theater. If you need a cough drop, or something of that nature, please try to not make noise with the wrapper.

Do not angle your head together with your "special someone" as you obstruct the view of the people behind you.

Children at the Ballet

Any child, who can quietly sit in their own seat and happily observe a two-hour performance without questions or talking, is welcome at San Francisco Ballet. To ensure an enjoyable and relaxed experience for everyone, SF Ballet recommends that children be at least 5 years-old to attend Nutcracker and 8 years-old to attend Repertory Season performances. SF Ballet also requests that no infants be brought to a performance.

Prior to attending a performance with children, we recommend explaining the differences in behavior one demonstrates at a live performance as opposed to viewing a movie, especially viewing a movie at home. Also, it can be helpful to introduce children to the story they will see and the music they will hear.

Parents may consider selecting an aisle seat when bringing young children in case a quick exit is needed for an unavoidable visit to the restroom, or for a talkative or restless child. Parents should remove children creating a disturbance during the performance and may be asked to do so. Everyone entering the theater must have a ticket and must occupy their seat. Lap-sitting is not allowed. Booster seats for children are provided free of charge for use on the Orchestra level at Nutcracker performances.

Repertory season performances, including story ballets, are not always ideal for younger children. Parents know best if their child is able to quietly enjoy an adult program.

Please arrive early in order to enjoy the atmosphere of the Opera House and to allow time to visit the restroom before taking your seat. Food and drink are not allowed inside the auditorium. Before the performance begins, please remind children not to talk or ask questions during the performance and to remain seated without touching or kicking the seat in front of them. Remember, when the lights dim and the music which is part of the performance begins, it is quiet time.

Please laugh when the performance is funny and do applaud when the performance is over to let the performers and musicians know that you appreciate their work. Stand and applaud if you really thought the show was great.

For more help in deciding if your child is ready to enjoy a ballet performance, please consider the following:

  • Has your child already enjoyed a two-hour movie without talking, eating, moving around, or asking for explanations about what is happening or who the characters are?
  • Is your child happy sitting in her or his own seat without kicking adjacent seats and without getting up and down?
  • Has your child demonstrated the ability to hold a question for later?

PLEASE NOTE: As a courtesy, we wish to inform you that there are no refunds, credits, or exchanges if you must leave the theater because your child was unhappy or disruptive.


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