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‘Insane’ baby policy at Glasgow theatre sparks row

The Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow The Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow
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A theatre’s policy advising parents on bringing babies to performances has sparked fierce debate, with some branding it “insane” and others arguing that they “totally agree”.

The Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow’s online ‘babies in arms’ policy advises parents to remove crying babies from the auditorium and to make “every effort” to prevent them from being sick.

Although the policy has been in place for 10 years according to the theatre’s general manager, it has recently initiated debate after parents took to social media to criticise it.

The policy, written by general manager Iain Gordon, states: “Numerous complaints have been made by patrons regarding babies in arms.

“We do not think that the theatre is a place for any child who cannot yet walk and can be very distressing during certain performances due to flashing lights and loud sound levels.”

The policy advises that all babies must be paid and accounted for to ensure the theatre stays in-line with licensing numbers, and that crying babies must be removed from the auditorium as “quickly as possible” to avoid disruption.

It adds: “Changing of nappies must be carried out out of the auditorium. This perhaps sounds bizarre but this has happened numerous times and can be disgusting to those surrounding this area. Babies being fed and winded; please ensure that when winding your child every effort is made to avoid your baby being sick.

“We have had numerous complaints and had material claims from customers who have had their evening/performance spoiled and clothes damaged due to babies being sick over them.”

Critics have taken to social media to condemn the policy, with Facebook user Joyce Rhoddan‎ branding it “totally insane”.

She said: “Why shouldn’t young babies enjoy the theatre?

“You are calling all parents ‘inconsiderate parents’ because we wish to take our babies to the theatre. My baby and toddler have enjoyed many a theatre day out but we certainly won’t be coming back to the Pavilion.”

Amanda Laing said on Facebook: “What happens to single parents who have no family and no choice? They just aren’t welcome? Totally unprofessionally written, offensive to parents with small children. Disgusted.”

Defending the policy, Gordon said: “I think it becomes apparent in pantomime when babies are crying.

“We had a large group of 25 people who had travelled a long way to see a show about three years ago and someone’s baby was sick all over them.

“If a family has saved up for over a year to take their kids to a pantomime and then they can’t hear it properly, that’s not fair.”

He added: “Many parents come who are very respectful but there are people who just want to say: ‘To hell with everyone else.’

“Last year some people brought a pair of twin babies to the theatre – and what’s the point in that? I don’t think there is a need for it unless they can’t get a babysitter. And if they can’t and they ring the theatre in advance we will try and find them a space next to the aisle.”

Many sprung to the theatre’s defence on social media.

Nicola Dickson said on Facebook: “Totally agree with their rules. We took our kids to the theatre to see the panto and it was totally ruined by a large group of unruly children, and adults doing nothing about it.”

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