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Get the Picture?

Theaters are missing a big opportunity by holding out on social media

By Erin Meanley

Often, when I check my Instagram feed, I’ll see a shot of a stage awash in purple lights and a silhouette of a known pop or rap star. But nary do I see a filtered pic of a tenor dressed in tights and pantaloons belting out, “Cari amici, buon giorno!

During a recent intermission at the San Diego Symphony, my coworker David pointed out that the higher-brow forms of performing arts are missing out on the promotional benefits of social media. An Instagram photo is a visual reminder of not just a show that’s currently seeking an audience, but the company, theatrical venue, genre, and art form. If you can’t picture the stage, you’re unlikely to picture yourself in a seat.

House rules are typically posted on the theater’s website: “San Diego Symphony has a very firm policy. Cell phone photography of any kind is not permitted in the performance chamber…” I’m sure there are concerns over people posting to YouTube, but hey, Time Warner finally agreed to broadcast the Padres, so there’s hope the theater world will eventually give in, too. And as for decorum? That left the theater long ago. If plastic cups of wine and Levi’s have infiltrated orchestra level, why not the cell phone?

Maybe that’s already changing. On July 18, Amy Astley, champion of the arts, balletomane, and editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, Instagrammed a pic of the Bolshoi Ballet’s Swan Lake from NYC’s Lincoln Center. Her post received 799 Likes, including mine.

Read more about San Diego arts this season in our big Fall Arts Sneak Peek.

Get the Picture?

City Ballet | Photography by Dale Stokes

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