Tweet Seats In Theaters? How Enjoyable Can That Be?

So how would you feel if youre trying to concentrate on a show or play you’re watching, then you hear a vibrating sound next to you and realize that its someone tweeting? Believe it or not, tweeting is now condoned while watching plays or opera in theaters and are called “tweet seats”.

Tweet seats were first used in by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in September as an experiment for their concert audience, a way to interact with the audience while the show was going on. It was successful for CSO because it enabled their audience to tweet about the show to the public and their followers, thus allowing others to have the same experience when they see a CSO performance.

Since then, other theaters have followed suit, allotting sections as tweet seats for any person who was inclined to tweet while watching a performance. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra have also started providing tweet seats for an hour, known as “Happy Hour at the Symphony” to attract young professionals. While Broadway productions have not adopted this new trend as of yet, the upcoming Godspell production may try to use tweet seats.

While I, myself, like tweeting, I’m not sure if tweeting during a performance is something I can do and still enjoy watching a production. There are those who believe that tweeting makes watching a production an interactive experience, but at who’s expense? For someone who doesn’t like missing any part of a production, tweeting would just be distracting for me. I’m a big fan of tweeting, and I would tweet about what I may have seen or heard after the fact. It may take a while for this trend to take hold, but it might be interesting to see if theatre-goers would continue to pay for seats if they’re next to people who tweet during a show or concert. That’s my take on this, what’s yours?

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2 Responses to “Tweet Seats In Theaters? How Enjoyable Can That Be?”

  1. As Marketing Director for Dayton Opera, I originally developed “$15 Friday Nite Tweet Seats” for young professionals, a demographic that — for the most part — makes their entertainment decisions at the last minute. They are not subscribers, their have busy schedules and they know they are sought after by arts organizations. I would never consider breaking the audience-to-stage illusion by seating a “texter” next to a more traditional patron. That’s why our Tweet Seats are located in a section of a balcony. I also set up Facebook stations in the lobby to allow patrons to post during intermissions as well as before and after the performance.
    Live performances are always looking to break new ground on the stage. Why not break new ground in the audience? instead of telling future audiences how they need to act at the theatre, we need to adapt to their lifestyle. Smart phones are a primary communication tool for many people and we need to embrace it. It allows our company to get instant reviews, especially since newspapers rarely review productions.
    I am happy to report there were no phone malfunctions during the performance.
    “Yes we are tweeting and facebooking but not so much during – apparently it’s all too riviting.  At the pause between Act I and Act II, the lights of many devices came out like fireflies in the dark. It was great!” posted by Charity F., a Tweet Seat ticket holder at last October’s performance of Dayton Opera’s La Boheme.

  2. Mr. Duritsch,
    Thank you for your comments and for reiterating the advantages of instituting “tweet seats” in separate sections. My intention for writing this post was to make others aware of this interactive experience and if it could impress others to tweet at future performances or view it as too distracting to concentrate on the performance. For someone like me who needs to focus on what’s happening at that moment, tweeting during a show would be distracting, but I know that it doesn’t mean that it would be for others. It was not my intention to malign your policy or endeavors to keep up with current trends in order to keep your patrons interested or attract new viewers as a result of it.

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