New Performing Arts Theater to Encourage Cell Phone Usage During Shows

Cell Phones Theater Interior - H 2011

Cell Phones Theater Interior - H 2011

Bellevue, Washington's Tateuchi Center opens in 2014 with text-friendly policy.

A new performing arts complex in Bellevue, Washington will encourage the use of cell phones during shows.

Entertainment venues such as movie theaters and Broadway stages have traditionally instructed patrons to turn off hand-held devices, but the Tateuchi Center will buck that trend in order to attract younger audiences.

Tateuchi Center executive director John Haynes told the New York Times "This is the wave of the future for people we worry about attracting. Simply forbidding it and embarrassing people is not the way to go.

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"So we are wiring the building in anticipation of finding new ways to make it work over time."

Center execs believe that allowing audiences to text, Facebook and tweet during performances will engage patrons and reflect the modernity of the building, scheduled to open in 2014.

Haynes told the Times, "We didn't want to build the last great concert hall of the 20th century, but maybe the first one of the 21st century."

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Accordingly, the arts facility is being built with a 12 or 14-foot antenna to boost cell phone reception and will encourage a "nondisruptive cell use" policy.

This is a 180-degree turn from other venues, such as the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas which ejected a patron earlier this year for texting during a film.