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Hand-clapping is the usual way of demonstrating approval or recognising achievement. Cheering and whooping should be kept to a minimum and whistling avoided. A slow hand-clap signals discontent from an audience that has been kept waiting. Booing a performer is never acceptable. At the opera, applaud after the overture (before curtain-up), after an impressive aria (but never while someone is singing), at the end of a scene or act and, of course, at the end of the production. It is also the norm to clap the conductor when they take to the podium before the performance, after the interval and at the end (when the orchestra also takes a bow). At seated musical concerts, applaud between different compositions, but do not clap between movements within a piece. At the theatre, applause is expected at the end of each act, after a notable scene or moment (‘a handbag?!’) and at the end of a production. At formal dinners or wedding receptions, the speakers are applauded before and after their speech. At award dinners, prize-givings or similar ceremonies, a brief spell of applause is expected after the name of a winner or group of winners is announced. Further applause is expected after the acceptance speech.

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