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Diary: How parent-and-baby performance left two clueless audience members feeling their age

The audience during the baby and parent performance of Emilia at the Vaudeville

Tabard is used to noisy audiences. And anyone who’s ever been to see Dirty Dancing – the Classic Story on Stage will know how it feels to be among rowdy theatregoers with no regard for etiquette.

Last week, the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End became the latest venue to experience mass unruliness – though this time it was very much planned. The theatre hosted the first known parent-and-baby performance in Theatreland, with Emilia being the show that tested whether such a thing could work with a big, commercial production.


Turns out, it did – though clearly the experience tested the actors’ abilities to project in ways like never before. Still, they valiantly battled through. And afterwards everyone hailed it a huge success.

But what about the people who had booked to see the play not knowing it was a parent-and-baby special? Tabard hears all but two people were reached before the performance, and offered tickets for other days.

The two who weren’t told were tourists, Tabard understands, who returned to the box office in the interval – utterly baffled – and asked what was going on.

Still, all was fine when the situation was explained and everyone left happy. Even the front-of-house staff who lugged 152 prams up five flights of stairs to a makeshift buggy park in the theatre. Bravo to them all.

tabard@thestage.co.uk [1]

More than 170 babies attend West End’s first parent and baby performance [2]