Theatres offering 'tweet seats' to mobile addicts

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A US theatre is the latest to offer 'Tweet seats' where audience members are encouraged to post comments about the performance on the social messaging sites without distracting others.

The Guthrie Theatre in Minnesota, has formalised a growing trend in theatre audiences to use their phones from within auditoria by giving obsessive tweeters a section of their own.

Management has roped off a special balcony-level section of the theatre "that will not be disruptive to other patrons" for the latest run of The Servant With Two Masters, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

The Guthrie is not the first arts institution to cater specifically for, and even encourage, Twitter users.

Many others like The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Palm Beach Opera in Florida and the Public Theater in New York have all reportedly experimented with special sections for visitors who can't keep off their phones.

Critics in UK are expressing mixed feelings about the increasing tendency of audiences in London's West End to reach for their phones during performances.

"There's little doubt that it disturbs other audience members, and probably even cast members," wrote David Lister in The Independent recently.

"And, of course, one hopes that people are too busy concentrating on the action to fish their mobile out of their pocket or bag. On the other hand, they are engaged enough to want a post a review," wrote Lister.

In a classic case of 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em', theatres and auditoria offering tweet seats make an effort to locate them in an area where smartphone glow will not distract other customers, the report said.

Forward-thinking arts executives believe that social media could even enrich the experience offered by the production.

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