Thursday, June 6, 2013

Opera and Theatre Etiquette for Ladies and Gentlemen

It is correct for the young man to inquire if the young woman prefers a box, or, if not, he should state in what part of the house he proposes to secure seats. This will enable her to determine how to dress. 
Theatre

A young man may invite a young woman to the theatre or opera, even if he has but a slight acquaintance with her, but of course he should secure the permission of her parents or chaperone.

It is correct for the young man to inquire if the young woman prefers a box, or, if not, he should state in what part of the house he proposes to secure seats. This will enable her to determine how to dress.

If the young woman wears street toilette, her escort may take her in any public conveyance but if she wears evening dress, he should provide a carriage. At the theatre he should precede the woman down the aisle to the seat or box; but if it is the latter, he should open the door and wait for her to pass.

A man may use his judgment as to the aisle seat. If a better view can be had, or seemingly objectionable people are next the inside seat, it is perfectly proper to give the woman the aisle seat.

A man should never leave his companion
between the acts. The custom of both men and women going into the foyer at that time is a growing one, and is a relief to the audience.

Refreshments at some fashionable place may follow after the entertainment.

For a man to call on an acquaintance in an opera box does not relieve one of the duty of
making a formal call in return for social favors.

Bonnets

A woman of any consideration will either wear no bonnet at all or remove it as soon as the curtain is raised.

It would be in place for a man or woman whose view is hampered by a bonnet to politely ask the wearer to remove it, and when it is done, to thank her.

Men —Leaving Cards


After a theatre party given by a man, he should call within three days on the woman he escorted or leave his card.

Precedence

In entering a theatre a man precedes the women of his party, but after he has handed his coupons to the ushers he gives the women precedence, and follows them to their seats.

Talking

Conversation during the progress of the play or the opera should be avoided, and confined to the intermissions.

The theatre goer should avoid all noise, gestures or actions tending to annoy others or to render himself conspicuous.

A man would be justified, when annoyed by a person talking loud near him, in asking him politely to speak lower.

Conversation during the progress of the play or the opera should be avoided, and confined to the intermissions. 
Conversation during the progress of the play or the opera should be avoided, and confined to the intermissions.

Theatre and Opera Parties Given by Men


A man giving a theatre or opera party should secure one or more chaperones if women are to be present.

Calls

The host should call upon his guests within three days or a week after the event.

Carriages

The host may, if he choose, send carriages or a stage to collect all the guests. This is a formal and agreeable way to begin the evening's pleasure. 

The chaperone should be called for first. A more informal way is quite popular. The invitations having been given and accepted, the host informs each of his guests as to the others, and leaves a ticket with each one. All then meet
informally at the place of amusement. If a dinner is given before the entertainment,
carriages are provided to convey the guests to the theatre.

Chaperone

A chaperone should always be present if women are to be members of the party. And if a stage or carriage calls for the guests, it should call first for the chaperone.

The chaperone who acts as hostess should decide the hour to close the festivities.

Dinners

If a dinner is given before the performance, it is generally given at six o'clock, the usual customs being followed. If preferred, the dinner may follow the performance, and may be given at any fashionable restaurant or hotel.

If it is given before the play, at its termination the guests are conveyed in carriages or stage to the theatre at the expense of the host.

After the entertainment it is a good plan for the party to return to the banqueting-room to partake of slight refreshments.

A woman should avoid conspicuous manners, loud conversation, laughing, or acting in any way to attract attention. 
A woman should avoid conspicuous manners, loud conversation, laughing, or acting in any way to attract attention.

Dress

Men wear evening dress. Women wear full evening dress.

Invitations

He may invite his guests in person or by note. In either case he should secure the parents' permission to allow the young women to attend, and should be ready to supply all information regarding the men who will be present, and also the chaperones.

Men 

The escorts should see the women home unless they are called for by the male members of their families, in which case they may be accompanied to their conveyances. If a young woman is called for by her maid in a carriage, her escort may take her home.

Intimacy of the parties largely regulates the etiquette of such occasions. They can decide whether evening or street dress shall be worn, and seat themselves accordingly. A carriage should be provided.

When entering an opera or theatre box for a short call, a man should stand and bow, making some pleasant remark to the chaperone.

If there is an empty chair, he may sit and talk a few minutes and retire as others enter.

Women

Between the acts it is perfectly proper to go into the foyer with the escort, who should carry the woman's wraps and see that all her wants are attended to. Should she desire anything, she should call on him first.

The hat or bonnet should be removed.

In a box the women occupy the front row while the men sit or stand in the rear.

A woman should avoid conspicuous manners, loud conversation, laughing, or acting in any way to attract attention.

Given by Women 

This is a popular form of entertainment during the season. They are given by married women, and the guests are invited by note.

A dinner is given at the house or at a restaurant before the departure for the opera or play.

Refreshments may also be given after the
entertainment at either the house or restaurant.

At the dinner the same ceremonies are followed as to arrangements of guests and escorts as at any formal dinner.

After the entertainment it is a good plan for the party to return to the banqueting-room to partake of slight refreshments. —From "The Book of Good Manners"

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia