Theatre set to launch baby screenings

WHILE most people take popcorn, sweets or ice cream into the cinema with them, parents are now being encouraged to bring their babies.But regular cinema-goers do not have to worry that the latest cliff-hanger, thriller or romance will be disturbed by a crying youngster or a smelly nappy.

WHILE most people take popcorn, sweets or ice cream into the cinema with them, parents are now being encouraged to bring their babies.

But regular cinema-goers do not have to worry that the latest cliff-hanger, thriller or romance will be disturbed by a crying youngster or a smelly nappy.

For Ipswich Film Theatre is launching special monthly screenings exclusively for parents and carers with babies aged 18 months or younger - believed to be the first in the county.

The screenings are not children's matinees but instead give those who care for the very young an opportunity to see some of the films they might be missing.


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Instead of having to arrange childcare they can just take their baby with them and not worry if they cause a disturbance.

Dave Gregory, films officer at the theatre, said: “A lot of people with young children do find it difficult to get to the cinema.

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“A lot of cinemas do not allow babies into the cinema as they cry and wriggle. Here, under-threes are not allowed in the evening but we felt that was stopping mothers, fathers, carers, grandparents and babysitters enjoying the movies.

“It's an idea that has been done in very few cinemas nationally. We are charging a relatively cheap rate so people can bring their baby in.

“If their baby cries it won't bother the other parents and carers with babies as it could easily be their babies crying too.”

And if children can never be too young to go to the pictures, they are also never too young to get a head-start on University Challenge and the French language.

For the first screening at the borough council-run specialist theatre, at the Corn Exchange in King Street, will be of the subtitled French film Tais-Toi!, starring Jean Reno and Gerard Depardieu.

Then the Screen Babies programme will feature Starter For 10, a new British comedy about the student quiz show University Challenge, with emerging star James McAvoy.

Both the films are 12A certificates, allowing children to watch them as long as they are accompanied by an adult, so the film theatre is not breaking any rules by admitting babies.

Mr Gregory explained: “There is a complicated way round the certification but initially we are just going to stick to U, PG and 12A certificate films and there are plenty of adult films in those categories.

“We are planning to mix and match the films so not all of them will be in the English language. At the first screenings I want my ushers to speak to the parents and carers to find out what films they would want to see.

“Obviously, the things to avoid are long movies, as the babies might need feeding or their nappies changing, or ones with complicated storylines and flashback sequences, as if the parent is distracted you could quite easily lose track of it.”

n The first screening will be of Tais-Toi! at 11am on Wednesday November 22 followed by Starter For 10 at 11am on Wednesday December 6.

Up to two adults will be admitted with each baby. Tickets, costing £3 per adult with babies admitted for free, are available from the ticket office in the customer service centre at the Town Hall or telephone 01473 433100. Buggy parking will be available.

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