Last night I was invited along to the Richmond Theatre to review Avenue Q and to try out the latest theatre blogging initiative #TweetSeats.
Tweet Seats are usually allocated in the back row of the Stalls or Dress Circle so that there is no distraction to the people sitting behind you. Bloggers are invited in to watch the show and tweet along about it to their hearts content. Being an advocate for good behaviour in theatres, this idea seems to go against everything I believe in but I went along to give it a go to see what all the fuss is about.
There were a few bloggers at the event I went to, who would all be tweeting along to Avenue Q. We got to meet some of the puppets before hand and take pictures which was super fun to do and share on our social media channels. However when it came to tweeting along with the show there were no guidelines given and so left bloggers a little confused as to what exactly we were expected to tweet about during the show. Also, whilst you would expect bloggers to automatically ensure their phones are in silent mode, screen brightness turned down etc, there were no guidelines given as to how to ensure as little distraction as possible was created. If this craze is to continue I would highly recommend creating some instructions for bloggers to follow.
Tweet Seats are a creative idea to get bloggers creating a buzz on social media about a show but whilst we sit there tweeting, how much of the show are we actually managing to concentrate on? And most importantly, what kind of example are we setting to audience members? We should surely be setting a good example of how to behave at the theatre and using your mobile phone is definitely not good theatre etiquette. The most awkward moment of this evening for me was the announcement at the beginning of the show by two of the characters, specifically asking the audience not to Tweet during the show (making things a little more unsettling for us).
I asked on Twitter how people feel about the idea of Tweet Seats and I didn’t receive a single positive comment. From actors to audience members, everyone was against the idea and could see no good coming out of tweeting during a show. The most common response was quite rightly that you can tweet during the interval and after the show so why is there a need to tweet during it? Sit back, relax and enjoy the show! Also also, how are you supposed to tweet whilst holding a glass of wine? I certainly know which I’d rather be doing during a show.
West End Wilma