After I write this next sentence, I will prepare to leave the country.
Not every environment is suitable for children.
I'm involved in running two spoken word events, Speak Up and SpeakEasy. These are evening events. Writing with dark themes is performed. Bad language is used. Alcohol is consumed.
We don't say children can't come to these events, but I can see two challenges if they do.
Puts A Constraint On Artists
Once an artist sees a child in the audience, they'll feel a need to self-censor, to adjust their material so it's suitable for young ears. This isn't a fair position for an artist to be in.
The whole point of spoken word events is that people are fully free to express themselves, and they can't do that if they're worried about corrupting children. They're forced to give a watered-down performance of their piece, which means the piece loses some of its impact.
Children Make a Racket
Despite the best efforts of their parents, children sometimes make a racket. They're out of their normal environment, out of their routine. And some people will be disturbed by that racket.
Performing is nerve-wracking enough without having to deal with extra noise. And if our audience has paid in, then they've paid for the right to enjoy their performance undisturbed.
Photo Description: Two children sit in a brown chair. The girl has a boy in her lap. They are grinning and look a little wriggly.
Having said that, in the words of the great Missy Elliott, I'm now going to put my thang down, flip it and reverse it.
Not every environment is suitable for people without children.
If I were to go to a pantomime, I would expect to be hit with a wall of sound and to hear lots of silly, child-oriented jokes.
If I were to go to a restaurant or pub that does a roaring Sunday lunch trade, I can expect a soundtrack of wailing, screeching and giggling. Foodstuffs would be thrown in my direction.
So, Can Children Come Along?
The straight answer is that our spoken word events aren't suitable for children. But if people bring their children, we'll welcome them.
There's no need to be horrible. I would hate for my many nieces and nephews to be turned away from our events, or be tutted at if their children are noisy.
It's about respect for the written rules of your environment. I'd hope that parents would keep a good eye on their children at our events.
And in return, if I go to a carvery for Sunday lunch, I won't complain if children throw food my way. Some of you would no doubt see this as karmic retribution.
I'm going to be fierce arrogant and assume this post has stirred up many opinions. Lob them over to me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0876959799.
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Agree wholeheartedly. 👍