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Top Tips for School Play Etiquette.

So this weekend, it was Flea’s termly ‘showcase’ at her theatre school – all the kids do a few performances to show the skills they’ve learned over the past 10 weeks.

I’m a HUGE fan of the theatre school Flea attends. I say theatre school because “stage school” calls to mind horrific images of precocious brats and pushy Mums and I hope we don’t fall into that category!

Actually, I don’t much care either way if Flea has a career in the performing arts – although the laws of genetics suggest that a future in dance is unlikely to be hers. But theatre school is the most fantastic way for kids to learn one of life’s most important lessons – everything is more fun when you stop worrying about what other people might think of you. Seriously – I don’t think there’s a more important life lesson for overall life happiness.


Sunday morning, we traipsed off to the theatre school and headed for the main hall. Within moments I realised there’s a whole etiquette to these events when you’re a parent watching the performance:

Rule One: Bagsies. When I was a kid and we got home from school, it was possible to “bagsy” the best seat in the car, or the comfiest armchair. Just because you’re an adult, doesn’t mean this no longer applies. So if you arrive and find an entire row of empty seats with just one woman sitting at the end, don’t think you can just sit down. Because, “Sorry, those seats are saved.” Apparently, if you sit at one end and put your handbag at the other, you’ve claimed ALL of those seats for all your friends. This also, apparently, applies at sports day. This rule displeases me.

Rule Two: Phone Cameras are for Wimps. You might think your phone is sufficient to snap a few photos of the performance. Well, apparently that theory comes straight from Loserville. If you can’t muster up a camcorder with its own tripod then the very least you can do is bring along an iPad and wave it in the air like you’re at a Status Quo concert. The bigger and brighter the LED screen you’re waving around, the better you do in the Parenting League Tables which, incidentally, DON’T EXIST, so please stop competing with me.

Rule Three: No Seat Swaps. If you inadvertently choose a side of the audience that means you can’t see your kid when the performance starts, don’t consider moving under any circumstances. If you do, you’ll be subjected to a barrage of loud tuts and sighs, and the person behind your new seat will proceed to burn the back of your head with their evil, laser eyes. You might ignore this rule in the event of an actual fire. Otherwise, if you can’t see your child, sit still and suck it up. Just imagine what they look like when they realise they’ve forgotten the routine halfway through, and decided just to stop and shrug every few seconds for the remainder of the song. Flea asked me to tell you that this definitely DID NOT happen at all during “Candy”. Cough.

Rule Four: Waving is mandatory. Try to bear in mind that it could be two whole hours since you last saw your child, so when they come on to stage, you should wave at them like a maniac in case they have forgotten who you are. Definitely catch their eye. This will effectively distract them from their performance, meaning they forget their lines and the entire scene becomes comedically so much richer. Similarly, just because the performance has an actual director, don’t let this distract you from offering your child helpful mimes indicating that they should open wide, lift their chin and remember to smile.

Rule Five: Singing is only for the students of the theatre school. Apparently joining in with the songs is not allowed. Maybe it was just my child who felt the need to stipulate this as an actual rule. By saying, “You sing too loud, and you sing the wrong tune. I’m just being honest, Mummy.”  Frankly, this rule is downright disappointing.

Any other rules I missed?



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

About The Author


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.


  1. purplemum

    My son is doing his school play this week, I’m guessing the other parents aren’t going to love me trying to keep quiet/still my two younger kids, one of whom is prone to repeating everything she hears parrot fashion. Probably a rule but I have no childcare and a little boy who has begged me to go. Gags and valium all round.

    • Sally

      Younger kids are a minefield at school plays but I think everyone’s been there at some point!

  2. Knitty Mummy

    My parents once went to an event where they made the mistake of trying to sit in the bagsied seats. They missed the tiny man reserving the seats – a Mr Ronnie Corbett!
    Knitty Mummy recently posted..Easter Bonnet MakingMy Profile

    • Sally

      Tsk tsk. Ronnie Corbett, I’d hoped for better.

  3. Jen

    Who’d have thought there were so many rules. Of course, taking along a crying baby is really against the rules and will alienate everyone else in the audience, forever! Me included 😉 Harsh but true.
    Jen recently posted..Upcycling Interiors: 10 Top Pallet IdeasMy Profile

    • Sally

      Rules galore, but all unwritten, so as to trip up the unwary…

  4. Mirka Moore @Kahanka

    I don#t think there should be any rules, just do what is best for you and Flea. Isabelle has had many school plays, and maybe we are lucky, but the parents attending are usually nice, no one has ever complained about Olivia chatting or being “loud” during the performance. Try to ignore the rules 😉
    Mirka Moore @Kahanka recently posted..Win GOSH boombastic mascara!My Profile

    • Sally

      Amen to THAT.

  5. Helen Redfern

    It’s amazing how well behaved the children are compared to the parents. My youngest had his first school nativity in December – at least I think he did but I didn’t actually see him because:

    1. Parents were told not to go through until 9.20 – by which time almost all seats taken and the predictable parents in the front rows.
    2. The aforementioned parents managed to watch both showings, from the front row, despite us being told to go to just one.
    3. For some reason the school reserves the first 2 rows for ‘special parents’, dignitaries, ex-staff etc.
    4. As has happened in all school productions, I have had to view it through someone’s camera phone. To be fair, I may have spotted my child though the phone for a few seconds.
    4. When son had his 15 second spot on the stage, some adults in the front row stood up and the people next to me spoke – I only ‘know’ he was there because I knew when his part was due on stage.

    Really, if I am going to neither see him nor hear him, would it be possible for someone else to go to the bother of making his costume?

    Bitter, moi?
    Helen Redfern recently posted..The Queen, Duchess of Cambridge and HypnoBirthingMy Profile

  6. Cass@frugalfamily

    It’s so hard being a parent isn’t it lol

    I once tried to sit in an empty chair for our school play and got told off because it was clearly reserved! Now I just get there first so I’m the bad person who reserves them 😉
    Cass@frugalfamily recently posted..No room at the inn….My Profile


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