Bill English pushes theater in a new direction 

Under English’s direction, San Francisco Playhouse has entered the age of social media. On Thursday, a select number of eligible applicants are invited to attend a performance of the acclaimed play “Tigers Be Still,” and tweet during the show.

What do you think are the benefits of an evening like this? I think it allows people to access the theater in a different way. It’s a way of interacting with live entertainment without interrupting the performance — they sit in the back row with their screens on low.

How do you think social media have influenced the arts and entertainment scene?
I think arts providers are starting to understand they can use social media to build a community. We use it to generate discussion. It’s fun for people to watch the tweet line while the show is on, and the tweeters are focused on what is going on onstage.

What have been the reactions from the first Playhouse Plugger nights?
People really enjoy it. Opponents feel the audience should be totally focused on the performance, but it’s no different than a critic taking paper notes on the show.

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