There are few things more annoying than being interrupted by a cell phone user in a theater. Whether they are live tweeting the plot, checking text messages, or chatting with their bestie about their armrest-hogging date, cell phone users are usually anathema to theatergoers. Yet people continue to use their phones long after the lights have dimmed. Now a theater in Seattle is opting to embrace the inevitable and is encouraging patrons to use their phones while the curtain’s up.
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According to a story in the New York Times, the same behavior that will get you unapologetically kicked out of most theaters, is being encouraged by the Tateuchi Center in Bellevue, Wash. While the Center isn’t expected to open until 2014, when they do, the 2,000-seat concert hall will have a laissez-faire phone policy in place in hopes of attracting younger viewers. The theater expects that etiquette over cell phone use will evolve naturally and allow artists to ban phones from individual performances, but the theater will have a standing policy of allowing nondisruptive cell use during performances. John Haynes, the theater’s executive director, told the Times,“This is the wave of the future for the people we worry about attracting. Simply forbidding it and embarrassing people is not the way to go. So we are wiring the building in anticipation of finding ways to make it work over time.”
But if you are allowed to use cell phones during performances, how will we get any more awesome anti-texting PSAs like this one from the Alamo Drafthouse?