First Timer's Guide

New to the theater?

We love theater newbies. And we can’t wait to welcome you to the Guthrie. Live theater is exhilarating. We understand though that the first time around it can also feel intimidating and mysterious. What should you wear? When should you arrive? Will we hand out bags of buttery popcorn during the show? (We won’t.) Here are some tips to make your first Guthrie experience a relaxed and enjoyable one.

What the heck is a preview?

Ever heard the phrase “tough crowd”? Then you know audiences play a key role in the success of a performance. We need you like Anthony needs Cleopatra.

Previews are the theater’s version of beta testing. The cast and creative team continue to rehearse, making tweaks based on the audience’s response. On Opening Night the show is “frozen,” the rehearsal period ends and the company rejoices. Preview tickets are less expensive to reflect that we’re working out the kinks.

Timing is everything.

The theater goes dark. A hush falls over the audience. The stage lights come up to reveal … you have no idea because you were late to the show, and now you’re stuck in the lobby until one of our ushers can escort you to your seat. That could take a while and involves flashlights and disruptions. Moral of the story: don’t be late. In fact, try to arrive 30 minutes before the performance.

Jeans or evening gown? Flip-flops or heels?

Be you. There is no dress code at the Guthrie.

To spritz, or not to spritz, that is the question.

Far be it from us to judge your signature scent. BUT, if you’re into perfume or cologne, please go easy. Your fellow audience members, who may have allergies or sensitivities, will thank you.

A toast! ... to not eating in the theater.

Remember that time you were at the movies and Mr. Snickers Skittles in Row 3 took forever opening his candy wrappers? It’s even more painful during a live show. So, food is only allowed in our lobbies. Beverages, however, of both the adult and PG variety, are welcome in the theater – in plastic or paper containers only please.

Video killed the theater star.

For all sorts of legal reasons that our General Manager would be happy to explain to you (just kidding, Brooke!), videography and audio recording during the performance are prohibited. Photography of the set on stage is allowed pre-show, post-show and during intermission. Go (a little bit) nuts! But pretty please show our designers some love by crediting them (and by tagging us) in your social media posts. 

#?%$ cellphones!

Spoiler Alert: Your ringing cellphone is like the dagger to Juliet’s heart – a self-inflicted wound that makes everyone around you really sad. Look, you’re coming to the Guthrie to experience the power of live performance, right? Don’t mess it up for yourself, your fellow audience members and the actors by forgetting to turn off your phone. Just…please…shut it down. And, yes, that means no texting either. Because guess what? EVERYONE can see your glowing, texting phone.

And above all …

Have fun. Laugh. Be moved. Feel deeply. Engage. Stay after and talk to us. Theater is a beautiful, meaningful way to bring people together. It’s why we do what we do at the Guthrie. And we hope you’re as excited to visit us as we are to have you.

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Know Before You Go

First Timer's Guide

A guide to theater etiquette for new audience members

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A PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN

Building Tours

Explore the history and heart of the Guthrie Theater

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