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The Tweet Seats

Virginia Tech

Pull out your phone in a live theatrical performance, and you might get the stink eye, or even a request to leave. But given the unavoidable technological climate, some theatres, including the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, are beginning to experiment with Tweet Seats, where patrons can safely share their ideas and thoughts about the performances, free from any menacing glares.  

The Moss Center for the Arts at Virginia Techis utilizing students’ need to connect with the implementation of their Tweet Seat Master Classes. Students, who sit in the very back of the auditorium, will live-tweet the performances, asking questions and sharing their thoughts and ideas about the show. Ruth Waalkes is the Executive Director of the Center for the Arts. 

"Initially when we did it, I know I had some hesitation: Oh, this is just going to be a distraction. Does it mean they aren’t really focused on the concert? And I was surprised at some of the initial feedback from students. They felt they actually did focus even more because they were listening so actively."

An important aspect in the master class is the meet and greets students have with musicians after the performances. The performers can scroll through the tweets the students sent out during the show and field any remaining questions.

"And the musicians really love seeing the twitter feed. I think from their perspective, they’re trying to get certain things across in the concert hall and that experience. So for them to be able to read those and think, 'gosh, did I really hit that moment that I thought I did?' or those kinds of things. It’s been really, really interesting."

Tweet seats are not open to the public, but Waalkes said she does encourage other audience members to read through the twitter feed after the show, as there is usually a surplus of great insight. 

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