West Yorkshire Playhouse decides against ‘tweet seats’

Natalie Woolman

West Yorkshire Playhouse has decided against letting patrons use internet message service Twitter on their mobile phones at the back of the auditorium during some performances.

Dubbed “the tweet seats”, the Leeds venue was considering allocating a number of seats at the back of the auditorium for people to send instant messages over Twitter live from the theatre last week, floating the idea on its own Twitter account and asking potential audiences for feedback on the idea.

West Yorkshire Playhouse director of communications Su Matthewman said the idea was the result of discussions at a meeting held last week for venues involved in the government’s A Night Less Ordinary scheme, which gives free tickets to under-26s.

Matthewman explained: “We got into some very interesting conversations about how we communicate with people and whether or not we are embracing the way young people communicate.”

However, the theatre tweeted this morning: “Thanks all for input to ‘tweet seat’ debate, had lots of interesting feedback, more negative than positive and have decided it’s a no go.”

Responses to the idea were mixed from the outset.

Ian Brown, West Yorkshire Playhouse artistic director responded last week: “People who think tweeting during performances [is a good idea] have to be prepared to tell the actors that is what will be happening. I shall be hiding”.

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