Metropolitan Opera installing new seats to combat fidgeting

19 July 2013, 12:31

The Metropolitan Opera in New York is to update its seating over the next 10 years with ergonomic seat cushions, to be installed through most of the 3,800 seat house.

Following a pitch from Ian Moore, the chief executive of British manufacturer NuBax, as well as the adoption of the new ergonomic seats by Broadway theatre owner Jordan Roth, the Met installed two seats as a trial run.

After positive feedback for the new seating, the Met now plans to switch roughly 3,300 seats over the coming decade. These plans do not include box seats, which are currently individual chairs.

The new seats are designed to tilt the pelvis forward, straighten the spine and consequently improve blood flow. This will decrease patrons' desire to fidget. Ian Moore commented: "Fidgeting is contagious. If the person next to you starts fighting for the armrest or the person behind you starts crossing his legs… that can interfere with your experience."

The seats won't look any different after the addition of the NuBax design, where a specially shaped piece of foam is inserted into the seat cushion. The seats have so far been adapted to cars, planes, office chairs and cinemas.

The August Wilson Theatre in New York, which is currently home to the broadway musical "Jersey Boys", has already installed the new seats and the theatre's owner Jordan Roth has plans to put them into four other Broadway theatres. They are also featured in the Fortune Theatre on Russell Street in Covent Garden with plans for many other West End theatres to start using them over the coming years.

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