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Does matinee now mean kiddie session?

By sepi - 10 August 2009 19

A recent trip to the theatre to see Quantum Leap youth dance was an interesting experience. We went to the matinee, and I was surprised to see that most attendees had kids with them. Including very small kids.

Predictably the toddlers in the audience cried, called out and chatted through the entire performance. At one point a child behind us was poking my friend in the head, another was calling out to someone on stage, and an older child was roaming up and down the row in front. It was pretty hard to pay full attention to the dancing on stage.

Afterwards I questioned Canberra Theatre on whether matinees are always full of children in the audience. They replied that this matinee had been recommended to relatives of the dancers. While I understand the relatives are keen to see their children perform, I think it would be fair to inform general ticket buyers that this is a ‘family friendly’ performance, before selling full price tickets.

The Theatre also commented that they have no control over the age of people buying tickets to their shows. I thought they may have had some policy on an appropriate age for kids in the theatre (like over five, and able to be quiet for an hour at a time), but it seems they don’t.

What’s Your opinion?

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19 Responses to
Does matinee now mean kiddie session?
sepi 2:04 pm 11 Aug 09

I’m sure I’ve been to matinees previously that weren’t filled with tinies. Still, in hindsight a youth dance performance was perhaps not a smart choice for a child-free afternoon.

So can I really take my noisy two year old to matinees with impunity? I think I would still be too embarassed to have my child continuously shouting throughout a performance, even if there were other kids there. I am actually fairly child-tolerant – I have two of my own. But some of the toddlers present on the day were really too small for the event. I would guess they were two year olds.

I still think it would simplify things for all concerned if the theatre just specified that toddlers aren’t allowed – or conversly – actively encouraged them, by calling the matinee the ‘family session’. That way noone would get a nasty surprise after buying a ticket.

QL2 2:03 pm 11 Aug 09

Sepi – sorry the show was disrupted for you. Drop me an email – manager (at) – and I’ll arrange a refund of your tickets. And thankyou for raising the problem here.

I’m from QL2 Centre for Youth Dance, presenter of the Quantum Leap performances.

Looks like about 30% of the (small) audience at that matinee was on ‘child’ (ie under 15) tickets. Not sure how many toddlers or babies. But sounds like it was enough to make it feel like most had kids.

We hadn’t really intended that the matinee be primarily a “children’s session” or particularly more “family friendly” than the others; although we did suggest to participants that it was a good opportunity for people who can’t go out at night to see the show.

But it sounds like maybe we, or Canberra Theatre, need to look at how we promote the matinee. And maybe look at whether Canberra Theatre’s staff should be attempting to exclude – or send out – unruly audience members.

We had set the “recommended age for this performance” at “8+”; which is what the ticket office should have said if someone asked. But that information was not on any of our publicity, so people could assume it was suitable for toddlers — which it was not.

Our bad. Well, mine really.

We do want young audiences to see it, if they have the attention span. And we don’t want to unfairly exclude people with younger children, if they can be quiet enough not to disrupt the performance for others -even if those very young ones aren’t really watching.

So, what should we do? Say “no toddlers” on the promos, and actively exclude them (probably meaning some of those adults with them couldn’t come)? Or have the theatre staff try to shush, or send out, people who are noisy or disruptive (eg noisy or poking)? Not have a matinee to avoid confusion? Or advertise a ‘noisy audience’ show (which wouldn’t really work with this production)?

All suggestions gratefully received!

And if sepi, or anyone else who was there, wants to give a review here, that would be great!

Master_Bates 1:50 pm 11 Aug 09

Addison said :

wow – you go to a daytime performance and find kids there! have some of your own, your tolerance increases dramatically.

+1 !!!!!!

The most sensible response yet!

RandomGit 1:04 pm 11 Aug 09

Your criticism of an issue aimed at a party which has no control over the circumstances is duly noted. *scrunch scrunch toss*

rosebud 11:52 am 11 Aug 09

Is Matinee code for children’s session? YES! Get over it.

housebound 9:43 am 11 Aug 09

We took our kids everywhere (when they were little). They knew how to behave, and we knew what they were capable of. If the subject was so boring they couldn’t last an hour, weld take something for them to do (hint: if they can’t sit through a performance like that for an hour, then either they are not up to the task or it is not age appropriate to take them).

The thing is, you have to do it regularly, so they remember what is expected. A big reward afterwards for ‘very good’ behaviour always worked too.

Oh, and we were always complimented on how well behaved our kids were (funny how parents get all the blame/credit). They never poked anyone in the back of the head or ran up and down the aisles.

Addison 8:08 am 11 Aug 09

wow – you go to a daytime performance and find kids there! have some of your own, your tolerance increases dramatically.

Gungahlin Al 7:48 am 11 Aug 09

On the other hand I’ve been virtually banned from taking a child to some stage shows – they would not sell us a child ticket at all. You know your child and what they will behave through better than some snotty stuck up cashier.

You get enough of being treated like lepers when you have small children and foregoing all semblance of a normal life, without even the cinema being out of bounds.

Take a lesson from the GG Quentin Bryce.

toriness 6:54 am 11 Aug 09

vg said :

Heaven forbid! Children acting like, dare I say it, children. Call in the government

children can act like children, but PARENTS shouldn’t take their children (continuing to act like children) into places which are inappropriate for children acting like children.

vg 11:12 pm 10 Aug 09

Heaven forbid! Children acting like, dare I say it, children. Call in the government

futto 9:21 pm 10 Aug 09

damn breeders.

astrojax 8:48 pm 10 Aug 09

i’m also surprised, but at the matinee tix prices being ‘full price’… usually matinee tix are less expensive.

that said, i’d also expect a greater number of kids, young kids, at a dance performance by kids, who are likely to have younger siblings who wouldn’t necessarily be out late (ie after 7pm) at night, so your murder mystery or maybe a sydney dance co production seems a logical way to go.

btw, was the quantum leap this year good? missed it, sadly. be great to get a review – even one coloured by rampaging toddlers destroying any ambience…

Feathergirl 8:34 pm 10 Aug 09

Hmmm, I see your point Sepi, but yeah, hard to advise people if a lot of rugrats will be there or not – until the audience files in the theatre doesn’t know I supose.

I don’t think I could sit through a dance performance without lying on the floor and demanding food, it’s not my cup of tea. Much like Homer Simpson I think the ballet is a bear driving a car. I could maybe refrain from poking other patrons.

emd 7:40 pm 10 Aug 09

How young are we talking about? I wouldn’t expect my toddlers to sit through an hour-long (I assume that’s how long the performance was) dance show, but a primary school kid might find it a good experience of arts and culture.

Igglepiggle 7:33 pm 10 Aug 09

I’m just amazed they’d buy full ticket prices for people who clearly aren’t going to enjoy it, and will stop the parent/guardian from enjoying it too.
But I guess if they’re going to give “family friendly” warnings they’d need to give “will eat constantly” and “hasn’t washed today” warnings too- it will never end…

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