Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow's 'family theatre' criticised over baby rules

Pavilion Theatre Image copyright Google
Image caption The Pavilion's policy has sparked an angry reaction from many parents

Parents have criticised a Glasgow theatre's policy on babies which refers to "inconsiderate parents" spoiling other customers' enjoyment.

The Pavilion Theatre said it had to draw up the guidelines after repeated problems, including crying babies, over several years.

But it has been condemned by parents who say the rules should not apply to children's shows like Justin's Party.

The Pavilion said its policy showed a "common-sense approach".

The theatre, which brands itself as Glasgow's Family Theatre, says that crying babies must be "removed from the auditorium as quickly as possible".

It adds that parents should ensure that "every effort is made to avoid your baby being sick" when winding children.

'Unprofessional language'

Emma Smith, from Clarkston in East Renfrewshire, said she became aware of the theatre's policy when she saw someone selling-on tickets to Justin's Party - a children's show starring CBeebies' Justin Fletcher.

"I went onto the website to see what the theatre's babes-in-arms policy was and I couldn't believe it," the mother-of-two told the BBC.

"Babies are not allowed to be sick or cry - it's ridiculous."

Ms Smith has a six-year-old daughter and a 15-month-old son and said most parents of toddlers or young children who wanted to go to the theatre would be in a similar position.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The theatre says crying babies could spoil other customers' enjoyment of this shows

"Some shows are just for adults and that's fair enough, but this is for children. Most people have more than one child and are likely to be bringing babies," she said.

The primary school teacher said she also thought some of the language in the policy was "unprofessional".

"It uses the word 'disgusting' about changing nappies," she said.

"Most parents would know not to change a nappy in the theatre, and take their baby out if it was crying. That's pretty normal. It's about common sense.

"Only a minority of parents wouldn't do this."

The policy, written by the theatre's owner Iain Gordon, was drafted after "numerous complaints".

Nappy changes

It states: "This has been made necessary due to the large number of inconsiderate parents with very young babies which has led to other customers' enjoyment of the show being spoiled.

"It is unfortunate that we have to treat everybody the same but experiences over the past few years have given us no alternative."

The policy states: "Changing of nappies must be carried out outwith the auditorium. This perhaps sounds bizarre but this has happened numerous times and can be disgusting to those surrounding this area."

'Common sense'

Ms Smith's post on the "Help What Am I Going To Do Today?!" Facebook group has attracted more than 330 comments.

Many condemned the theatre's policy as "shocking" and "horrendous", with some calling for a boycott or protest outside the theatre.

However, others supported it, saying it reflected what should be a "basic level" of consideration by parents.

Mr Gordon said the policy was a "common -sense approach" that had been in operation since 2007.

He told BBC Scotland that the other part of the policy was ensuring numbers in the auditorium complied with licence conditions and said "95%" of the complaints were made by people not at the Justin's Party show on Thursday.

"Today we have had 3,000 people through the theatre at two performances and I am sure that the large majority of people enjoyed the show and their visit," he added.

"I must also add that most theatres in the country now adopt a similar policy and only recently cinemas have also had to take similar steps, so it's hardly a new story.

"We try hard throughout the year and have always been known as Glasgow's Family Theatre and we are proud that we try to ensure that everyone coming to the theatre, young and old, enjoys their visit."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites