Visiting the Kennedy Center

Know Before You Go

For middle and high school audiences

Welcome to the KC

You're here. Hooray!

No, seriously, you're about to have a pretty cool day.

Why? Because this show is gonna rock.

Never been to a show? Don’t freak out. Here’s everything you need to know.


How to look like you know what you're doing before the show begins...

  • Thank the ushers. These people are here to give you programs, show you to your seat, and answer questions for you. Some days, they answer the same question, over and over again, but they will make you feel like it is the first time. Be sure to thank them.

    You: Where is my seat?
    Usher: You’re sitting in it.You: Thank you.

  • Throw away your gum. No, don’t hide it in your cheek. Are you a chipmunk?

  • Go use the restroom.  Before the show. Or during intermission. Or maybe during the show, but only if it’s a total emergency, and even then you must be super quiet.

  • Read your program. This tells you who’s in the show you’re about to see. Sometimes you can guess which are real names and which are stage names:

    Probably real names: Steve Williams, Jim Gallagher, Alice Smith
    Probably stage names: Colonel Awesome, Mercury von Dynamo, ¡brittani!

  • Turn off your cell phone. So sorry, but vibrate doesn’t count. Off, off, off.

Show Time

Look cool during the performance...

  • Be quiet. Seriously. Be quiet. You can talk for the rest of your life. Just not during the show. If your friend gets chatty, silently tape his mouth shut.

    Your friend: Hey, what are you doing after school today?
    You: (Nothing. This is where you tape your friend’s mouth shut.)
    Your friend: (Nothing. His mouth is taped shut.)

  • Respect the chairs. Don’t put your feet on them, kick them, or make them feel bad about themselves.

  • React (within reason). Laugh, smile, and cry as needed. Save guffawing and loud sobbing for the bus ride home.

  • Clap on; clap off. But only at the right times: you should clap after a play, song, scene, or act, or right before intermission.

  • Practice safe text. (See, we knew you didn’t turn your phone off.) Don’t send text messages during the show. Your phone’s little screen is really bright in a dark theater, and everyone will know you’re the one texting. And they’ll be all like, OMG!


Some tips on looking good after the applause dies down...

  • Now you can talk. What did you love? What did you hate? What’s for lunch? How do we get out of here?

  • Recommend. If you liked the show, tell your friends and family to see it. (If you’re really nice, maybe they’ll take you to see another.)

  • I don’t get it. Confused about something from the show? Google it. You might need the answer for the pop quiz tomorrow. Or if you want to impress someone on a date or something.

    Your date: Who invites Hamlet to fence with Laertes?
    You: A courtier named Osric.
    Your date: This is the best date I’ve ever been on.



Marina Ruben
Original Writer

Editors & Producers

Lisa Resnick
Content Editor

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