Stalls, Dress Circle, Upper Circle: Where Should I Sit At The Theatre?

Posted on 2 February 2015

People often ask me where they should sit in a theatre. But the answer is governed by so many things, from budget, viewing angles, mobility, the theatre itself and of course personal preference, that there's no clear cut answer.

When I book theatre tickets and am considering where to sit at a theatre I go through this basic list:
1) What show do you want to see - a musical, play, dance, or comedy?
2) Have you seen it before? What did you like/dislike about that experience what would you change if you could?
3) Which theatre is at?
4) How many are in the party and if there are any children, is the show suitable for them?
5) Is mobility an issue?, remember most theatre's do not have lifts and if climbing stairs or wheelchair access is required there are special arrangements that can be made accessibility is key.

6) Personal preference - some people have concerns over being to high up or suffer from vertigo, others prefer an aisle seat as being in the middle of a row causes them anxiety.
7) Viewing preference - do you like to be in the thick of it in the orchestra stalls or do you prefer to be an observer and look down from above?
8) Now a very delicate but vital question? What is the budget?
This is a lot of questions and I appreciate this, however I believe that if you've been asked for advice then you must do your best to give as much guidance and encouragement possible.
After all we need to make sure all visits to see a live show are the best possible experience they can be. Tickets are not cheap and a rare bad experience due to the above factors not being fully considered could either result in a total waste of a large sum of money or a future audience member lost.
Personally I like to be in the stalls for several reasons. I like to be amongst and as close to the performers as I can. My mother has mobility issues so she prefers to sit towards an aisle as she feels awkward if it takes time for her to get up. My dad has eyesight concerns so sitting in a dress circle where he used to enjoy a show is no longer an enjoyable experience.

I don't always get it right either. I took them to see a show recently and considered everything previously mentioned and still got it wrong.The problem was we were sat right next to a speaker and for my mum it was too much so at the interval I asked a really bizarre question of did they have some ear plugs? Fortunately apparently in this particular seat it is an often a normal request and whilst I felt uncomfortable asking the usher he just asked how many pairs would I like?

Live theatre performance is all about the whole experience. Doing the best you can with the facts and relevant budget taken into full consideration.
So don't have nightmares about booking seats ask people for advice. Us regular theatre goers are always happy to help as are the staff of your favourite agency or theatre.
Finally when you sit in your seat just let yourself be immersed in the delight that is a live performance.

Thanks for reading as always I'd love to hear your thoughts via Twitter @carnfarmer

 By Caroline Hanks-Farmer