A rendering of the Tateuchi Center in Bellevue

At most theaters, concert halls and arts centers, guests are strongly encouraged to stow their cell phones until the performance concludes. But that won’t be the case at the Tateuchi Center, a 2,000-seat concert hall expected to open its doors in downtown Bellevue in 2014.

The New York Times reports that the new facility will allow “nondisruptive cell use during performances.” That means texters and Tweeters can tell their friends (in real time) about what they are watching or hearing on stage.

“This is the wave of the future for the people we worry about attracting,” John Haynes, the theater’s executive director, tells The Times.

That’s a reference to Bellevue’s legions of technology geeks, many of whom work at nearby companies such as Microsoft, Expedia and InfoSpace. Located at the corner of NE 10th Street and 106th Avenue NE, the new cultural center could make an attractive destination for corporate events, which the Times notes could provide an important source of revenue.

But what about the social taboos of texting, Tweeting or posting to Facebook during dance recitals, concerts or plays? Will those disappear by the time the concert hall opens in 2014?

Haynes tells the Times that artists who perform at the hall will be able to request no cell phone use, and they are even considering distributing small screens to cell phone users to dim the light during performances.

Expected to cost $160 million, the non-profit entity behind the Tateuchi Center has raised $62 million to date. That includes recent $1 million donations from both Microsoft and real estate developer Kemper Freeman. The Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation jumpstarted efforts last year for the arts center — described as “a state-of-the-art urban venue”– with a $25 million donation.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Guest

    This is great news for the connected! Cell phone coverage inside Benaroya Hall is appallingly bad. Most of my texts are undeliverable, which harms my engagement with the performance. I’m glad Bellevue is embracing technological progress.

  • guest

    I love technology. I also love live performances & movies on the big screen. The two don’t mix IMO; this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard of. I work for an arts organization & when I ask people what keeps them from going out to events, they always mention rude audience behavior (talking, cell phone use, etc.) Bad move, Bellevue.   

  • Boltzzzman

    This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. Watch the play…put down your phone you self important prick!

    • Wilburn_bren

      This is what’s wrong witht he world today, texting and phone use during a performance is just rude and what about the person sitting next to them?  This is why young people can’t be controlled as it is, they are allowed to be rude and I can’t believe that this is coming from someone his age where manners were of highest priority!

  • anon

    What a horrendous idea. One would think that theatergoers would be there to engage in the cultural offering in front of them rather than tweeting, texting, or facebooking.

  • guest

    Remind me if I’m ever in town to NOT go to that theatre

Job Listings on GeekWork