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The insiders’ guide to the arts

October 19, 2010

How long should you look at a painting for? Where are the best seats for ballet? Big names from the arts world, including Charlotte Rampling and Richard Eyre, share their tips

Bridget Riley exhibition at Tate Modern

Can I go yet? … a gallery visitor looks at Composition with Circles” by Bridget Riley at Tate Britain, London. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Archive/Press Association Ima

What’s the best way to enhance your enjoyment of the arts? We’ve pumped those in the know for their expertise – critics, curators, artists, practitioners and professionals – and have amassed a haul of useful advice. So if you’ve ever been curious about the ideal way to see a show, get stuck in – and  please share your own tips below.

Which are the best seats in the house?

For opera and theatre, in the thick of it: centre of the stalls halfway towards the back, or as close to the orchestra pit as you can. You want to get a panorama of the stage but not be looking down – unless it’s dance, when sitting towards the middle of the first circle means you can see the patterns and how the whole thing comes together. Alan Davey, chief executive, Arts Council England

What is the optimum way to appreciate architecture?

Walking is the only way. You want a good mix of weather and a day off. Manchester is a great place for this: it can be sunny, but always rains a little bit, so you’re forced inside occasionally. You’ve got to push yourself, break some rules and go to places you’re not allowed. You can’t appreciate architecture until you’ve been told off for going to a room you’re not supposed to. Tim Abrahams, associate editor, Blueprint magazine

Which works withstand repeated viewings?

A great work is more than a one-liner. Personally, I would plump for anything by Cézanne. His composition, the light, the beauty and intelligence – he was an extraordinary artist and always pushing the form. Will Gompertz, BBC arts editor

Is it ever OK to heckle at a live performance?

Not unless you enjoy being humiliated in public – always remember that, if you heckle, the comedian is the one with the microphone. And if you don’t mind being picked on, sit in the front rows. Shappi Khorsandi, comedian

Read more at: Art and design

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