‘And you’re not gonna reach my telephone’

You’re not going to reach the telephones of audience members in theaters at OCU.

For some university theater officials, cell phones are prohibited in the theater for copyright reasons.

Audience members seeing productions of the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management are subject to this rule.

“Cell phones with cameras are considered to be both cameras and video recorders and should not be used inside city theater in which we conduct rehearsals and performances,” according to the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management Standards and Procedures.

Dance department officials also said the policies are to promote common courtesy.

“The policies are to make the theater experience a more pleasant place for everyone,” said Angela Do, success coordinator of the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management.

Other university theater officials said adhering to unspoken theater etiquette is more important than the potential of audience members “borrowing” staging and choreography.

“Well, I think cell phones are fine during a performance, said David Herendeen, interim director of the School of Theatre and director of opera and music theater. “Absolutely everybody should have a cell phone OFF during a performance.”

Cell phone etiquette in theaters has been a long-debated subject.

The National Association of Theater Owners requested the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allow the blocking of cell phone signals inside movie theaters in 2005, according to this story.

But times are changing and cell phone usage may soon be allowed in theaters on campus, at the discretion of the director. Technology-integrated performances may be in the works in the future for the university, according to Herendeen.He said he has thought about incorporating technology into performances like Washington and Lee University did in January. He is concerned about excluding audience members who do not own cell phones but thinks it could lead to a collaboration of ideas.

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The following are some excerpts from OCU’s Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management‘s Standards and Procedures regarding cell phone usage:

“Cell phones with cameras are considered to be both cameras and video recorders and should not be used inside any theater in which we conduct rehearsals or performances.”

“Students who purchase tickets for others shall be held responsible for the ticket users’ compliance with restrictions on unauthorized camera, photography and videotaping. In the event that a person sitting in a seat purchased by a major in Dance and Arts Management violates these restrictions, the purchaser shall be sanctioned by the school.”

“People who violate the “No Camera, no photography” rule will be barred from purchasing tickets for or attending subsequent Dance and Arts Management productions. Film, tape, or electronic memory media of unauthorized cameras or recorders in a theater may be confiscated, destroyed or erased.”

“Cell phones may not be used in restrooms, locker rooms or dressing rooms, or any space where dancers and performers are changing. For the purposes of this rule, all cell phones will be considered to have a camera with recording features, even if a cell phone in question does not.”

Photos in slideshow are courtesy of OCU Student Publications archives.

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