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. 


       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 
       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 


       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. 

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


       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. 

       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. 

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

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

       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. 

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

       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. 

       Men wear evening dress. Women wear 
       full evening dress. 

       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. 

       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 

       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. 

       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"