Theatre Etiquette and Acting Guidelines

Theatre Etiquette and Acting Guidelines_550
Photo Credit: Edward Simpson via cc
We are delighted to republish Prof. John Palmer’s ‘Theatre Briefs’ series, Actor Hub hope you find them as useful as we have.
This series of short essays about acting is reprinted with the kind permission of Professor John P Palmer of London, Ontario, Canada. He wrote these ‘Theatre Briefs’ for use by students and fellow actors during classes and rehearsals. Where he has relied on material from others, they are cited.
These points from Kerry Hishon are common sense and common courtesy. They should not need to written out. But I have been in too many productions where people just don’t seem to consider all these little things.
  • There are no small parts, only small actors.
  • Listen to the director.
  • Don’t direct others.
  • Always be on time.
  • Always bring your script and pencil to every rehearsal.
  • Don’t chew gum.
  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Memorize your lines as soon as possible.
  • Memorize your cue lines.
  • Memorize the scene order.
  • Maintain a positive attitude at all times.
  • Research your character.
  • If you don’t know the meaning of a word or phrase, look it up.
  • Enunciate every word.
  • If you or someone else forgets, improvise.
  • When you are not speaking, you are silent and listening.
  • If you can see the audience, they can see you.
  • Absolutely no talking or whispering backstage.
  • Before you perform, warm up.
  • Never say anything about another person unless it’s positive.
  • Clean up after yourself.
  • You perform unless you’re dead.
Also see Kerry’s other postings on
Each one of those postings is worth reading. They are clear and well-written. It might even be a good idea to post them in the rehearsal space.
These essays may be reproduced at no charge for non-commercial purposes. Just please acknowledge the original source (John Palmer) and his blog Eclectecon.
Also please retain the attributions included in the briefs.
You may not use these resources for commercial purposes.