We'll be thrilled to see you - and we'd like to help your visit go well if it's your first time at the theatre. Here's some helpful information and answers to common questions.

We love meeting first time visitors. One of the reasons we exist is to help bring Shakespeare's plays to a new audience, around the world. There are some questions we're often asked by first time visitors, which we think help things go smoothly.

The audience clap as the actors on stage bow at the end of a performance.
Audience members in the Swan Theatre
Photo by David Tett © RSC Browse and license our images

"What happens if I arrive late or need to leave during a performance?"

We understand. If you arrive late, speak to one of our front of house assistants. They'll take you to a screen where you can watch the show until they can take you to your seat without interrupting the performance. What's more, if you haven't seen the play before, they can also fill you in on the story so far.

If you leave during a performance, we'll ask you to wait until a suitable moment to go back in. Our actors also come in and out through the audience so we want to make sure you don't bump into Macbeth on your way to your seat!

"Can I eat and drink in the auditorium?"

You're welcome to enjoy a cold drink during a performance, so long as it is in a plastic cup or bottle. Our bars can provide you with a suitable cup. We don't allow hot drinks into the auditorium, but feel free to enjoy these in our bars and café.

You can buy your ice cream from our bars and front of house team during the interval and you're very welcome to take it back into the theatre with you. Do bear in mind that the rustling of food and sweet wrappers is very distracting to our actors and those around you. 

"Can I take photos?"

We're really proud of our beautiful theatres. You're welcome to take photos before the show, but please don't photograph or record the actual performance. It's distracting to the actor and the audience. Our staff do keep an eye out and will ask you to stop, so please resist the temptation. 

"What should I wear to the theatre?" 

Some people still like to dress up for a trip to the theatre, but if your style is more jeans and trainers, then that's fine too. The important thing is to be comfortable. You'll be sitting down for a few hours, so our only advice is that your clothes let you relax, and - please - no big hats. People behind you can't see!

"How long will the show last?"

Every play is different. Our Box Office can let you know the details for the performance you're about to see, otherwise just ask any of the Front of House team. 

"Where can I put my coat?" 

We have a free cloakroom. There's no need to leave your coat on the floor under your seat at all. We can also look after luggage while you watch the show. 

"Where can I get something to eat or drink?"

Whatever your taste, we've got a bar, café and restaurant. Our catering teams can provide everything from a bag of nuts to a three course meal.


We operate a 'small bags' only policy for entry into the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Swan Theatre. Any large bags and rucksacks will need to be left at the cloakroom, free of charge. All bags will be subject to searches at the cloakroom and on entry to the auditorium, so please arrive in plenty of time. 

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