Cameras to Coats: What You Should Bring to the Stage Door

Written by Aliana Cathy Middleton for chicagoonstage.com


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The theater presents a range of different experiences for everyone — from the excitement of being in the audience on opening night to fond memories of reviewing shows, live theatre has a magic unlike any other.

Watching a movie can be exciting, but there’s something special about seeing real people performing in front of you, and especially if you have a chance to meet them after the show. Meeting your favorite actors at the stage door can be a surreal and meaningful experience, as well as a lasting memory for any theatre lover. But before you start lining up with your playbills, there are a couple of things you should bring along with you.

The theater presents a range of different experiences for everyone — from the excitement of being in the audience on opening night to fond memories of reviewing shows, live theatre has a magic unlike any other.

Watching a movie can be exciting, but there’s something special about seeing real people performing in front of you, and especially if you have a chance to meet them after the show. Meeting your favorite actors at the stage door can be a surreal and meaningful experience, as well as a lasting memory for any theatre lover. But before you start lining up with your playbills, there are a couple of things you should bring along with you.

Your Playbill and a Pen

Before you leave the theatre, make sure you’ve got your playbill and a good quality, reliable pen. A signed playbill can be an incredible souvenir from a show, and can even be framed later on to preserve the memories.

To keep things convenient for everyone, you want to make sure you have everything on hand and in working order so you can move quickly. The urge to ask Christine Mary Dunford to sign multiple things after a brilliant performance in Her Honor Jane Byrne is understandable, but might get a bit too much for the actor and other fans.

The Right Camera

A picture at the stage door is a great way to remember the moment. Usually, all you need is a smartphone, but it might be worth bringing a better camera to capture this once in a lifetime moment. To stay discreet and not bother anyone with heavy equipment, it might be better to choose a less bulky option like a mirrorless camera. These tend to pack all the features of a professional camera in an easy-to-carry package, and take great pictures even when the lighting isn’t the best.

A Sense of Decorum

The play might be over, but the show doesn’t end until after the final bows. The curtain call is an important moment for the cast, crew, and audience, and it’s important to respect that. It can be demoralizing for the cast to see members of the audience stand up and leave during the bows and thank yous. Resist the urge to be the first at the stage door, stay, and enjoy the last moments of the show and everyone’s hard work.

Patience and Empathy

Theater performances can be exhausting, so it’s natural if the actors take some time before hitting the stage door. Also, expect some of them to be in a hurry. Actors could rush not because they’re impolite, but because they’re people too, and could have personal appointments to attend to. Always remember not to take up too much of their time and thank them for the experience, even if they just signed a quick autograph before jumping into a car.

A Good Coat

While the modern theatre dress code is a little more flexible, dressing well for a show is a great way to show respect to the craft and the cast and crew. A good theatre outfit will depend on the show, the season, the time, and of course, you.

Having said that, it might be a good idea to bring a warm coat as you don’t know how long you’ll have to wait at the stage door. If you’re in contact with one of the cast, be sure to let them know beforehand what you’ll be wearing so that they can spot you immediately. Above all, remember to be respectful!

A Special Time

Every stage door experience is different and special. However, following these tips might help the process go smoother, especially for first-timers. When it comes to stage dooring and the theatre, just remember to pack the right equipment, be polite, and thank them for the show.

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