Theatergoer's Survival Guide
Welcome to Portland Stage!
Thank you for choosing to watch a production with us! Whether this is your first show with us, or your first show ever, we wanted to give you a quick primer on the terms we use and answer some commonly asked questions when people come to the theater.
People to Know
PATRON An audience member. That’s you!
SUBSCRIBER A patron who has purchased all their tickets for the entire season in advance. (To learn more about subscriptions, click here.)
USHER A community volunteer who will scan your ticket, help you to your seat, or serve you at concessions
HOUSE MANAGER A staff member who oversees the Ushers and ensures everything audience-related goes smoothly during a performance.
Places to Know
BOX OFFICE Where you buy your tickets. At Portland Stage, this is on the street level.
WILL CALL The window at the Box Office where you pick up your tickets.
LOBBY The place where the bathrooms, Concessions, and ticket scanners are located.
CONCESSIONS Where you can purchase baked goods, coffee, beer & wine before the show or during intermission.
HOUSE Where the audience sits during the performance. All seating at Portland Stage is accessed via the 2nd floor.
Portland Stage's Venues
MAINSTAGE Our largest space, and where most of our fully rehearsed and designed productions are performed. We sometimes produce larger staged readings here as well.
STUDIO THEATER A smaller blackbox space which hosts a mix of staged readings, new play workshops, and fully staged productions.
THE SUSIE KONKEL THEATER FOR KIDS STOREFRONT SPACE The home of our Theater for Kids programming, and also where we often hold smaller play readings and social events.
Important Parts of your Evening
PRE-SHOW The period of time between when the house opens for seating and when the show begins
CURTAIN The time that the show starts,
CURTAIN SPEECH A welcome announcement at the start of the show to thank sponsors and make any requests of the audience such as silencing cell phones
INTERMISSION A break in the middle of the performance. Shorter shows are sometimes performed without an intermission.
FINAL CURTAIN When the show reaches the end of its final scene. Sometimes the curtain will close, but more often all the lights will go dark to end the scene and the actors will leave the stage..
CURTAIN CALL / BOWS – When the actors come back out on stage after the final curtain so the audience can applaud their performances.
Your Night at the Theater
This timeline is for shows starting at 7:30 pm.
6:45 pm – Lobby and Concessions Opens
7:00 pm – The house opens for seating.
7:25 pm – The lobby lights will flash a five-minute warning.
7:30 pm – Curtain & Curtain Speech. The show begins!
Intermission – If there is an intermission, it’s usually 15 minutes.
End of Intermission – The lobby lights flash a five-minute warning.
9:30 pm-ish – End of the Show, time varies. Once the house lights come up, patrons can leave their seats to head home.
Portland Stage Concessions
Our theater sells Concessions starting 45 minutes before curtain, as well as during intermission (for those shows that have an intermission). Featuring goods from an assortment of local bakeries, confectioners, and brewers. Outside food and drink is not allowed inside our lobby or auditorium. Click below to learn more about our usual vendors and offerings.
Directions & Parking
Don’t know where you’re going? Head on over to our DIrections & Parking Page for directions using many different modes of transportation, and information about the best parking options in our area.
Frequently Asked Questions
Portland Stage does not have a dress code. Come as you are, whether that’s in shorts and a t-shirt or a three piece suit. Dress up or dress down, as long as you are dressed at all.
Typically our lobby opens 45 minutes before the show starts, and the house opens for seating 30 minutes before the show starts. We generally recommend you try to arrive at the theater 15-20 minutes before your performance, but earlier if you would like to enjoy some concessions (when available).
Because Portland Stage does not have its own parking, we recommend you plan an extra 15-20 minutes to find parking and get from your parking location to the theater itself.
While we recommend arriving on time for the best theater experience, we understand some things come up and that’s not always possible.
Generally, late seating is at the discretion of the House Manager. If the show has already started, the House Manager will let you know if late seating is allowed at the performance, and will tell you when you can enter the house and where you can sit. We cannot guarantee that you will be able to sit in your ticketed seat if you are late, so if you have mobility or other accessibility needs, we recommend contacting the box office if it looks like you’re running late (207-774-0465).
Food is not allowed in the theater. If you have purchased a snack at concessions and are unable to finish it before the show starts or resumes, our ushers will give you a baggie so that you can take it home with you, but you cannot eat it during the performance.
Water and soda bottles are allowed in the theater if they have been purchased at Portland Stage concessions. Open coffee and tea mugs, as well as outside beverages, are not allowed inside the theater. Alcohol is not allowed inside the theater due to our liquor license, and must be consumed in the lobby before entering the theater for the performance.
We ask that you turn your phone off completely or put it in airplane mode so that it does not ring, buzz, or light up during the performance. Lights and sounds distract both the actors and your fellow audience members.
If you need to use your phone to set the volume on our hearing loop, we ask that you use it as discreetly as possible during the performance so that your phone does not act as a distraction for other patrons.
Absolutely no filming or photography is allowed during any of our productions due to performer, licensing, and designer contract obligations. If you would like to see clips or photos of the production, please visit our social media pages and the production page on our website to see the professionally shot photos we took of the production.
If you have a question about your ticket when you arrive at the theater, please visit the Box Office at the street level.
If you have a question while you are in the lobby or after you are seated about the production, an issue you’ve encountered, or our concessions, find an Usher (in white and black with an Usher nametag) or House Manager, and they can answer your question.
Visit our Patron Safety Information page to learn more about what we’re currently doing to keep actors, staff, ushers, and audiences safe during this ongoing pandemic.