Pavilion Cinema’s Parent & Baby Screenings take off

    Author Zoe Aresti

Pavilion Cinema Galashiels launched a new Parent & Baby Screenings programme back in January and, with the help of a certain record-breaking film, the Wednesday afternoon sessions have become a hit with the locals.

A recent screening, which featured a showing of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, pulled in over 50 cinemagoers and by offering a relaxed environment for parents to go and enjoy films on the big screen with their children, the venue seems to be onto a winner.

“Our Parent & Baby Screenings will feature a relaxed environment for parents with very young children (0 to 2 years) to enjoy a film,” said Cinema Manager, Andrew Poole.

“With the lights dimmed but not turned off, and the sound lowered we’ll create a stress-free zone for you and your baby.”

The films for the Parent & Baby screenings are scheduled on a week by week basis alongside the cinema’s regular programming and children between the age of 0-2 years are admitted free of charge.

Below, Poole offers some tips for other exhibitors thinking about hosting similar screenings:

  • Keep the films 12A or below, to make sure you don't fall foul of your cinema license with regards to admitting under age kids.  Daft, I know, but the law's the law.
  • Let the parents take their buggies into the hall - providing it doesn't block exit routes.  We use Screen 2 which has a large area in front of the front row of seats and there's loads of room for buggies.  Some parents even sit on the cinema seats, rocking the buggies in front of them.
  • Don't worry too much about your choice of film.  We've had a couple of parents say "why aren't you just showing Disney films?"  Truth is, we'd run out pretty quickly. We've remained firm that these screenings are for the PARENTS to watch a film - without worrying about any noise from their babies/toddlers.
  • Use Facebook to market the events.  Parents these days are generally very well connected on Facebook and there will be loads of "groups" for parents in your area.  Make sure the administrators of the group are happy for you to post in their group before doing so.
  • Make sure your show finishes in time for the parents to collect any additional kids they have in school.  So, you want to have your show finish a good 20 to 30 mins before school kicks out.
  • Try to find a "customer ambassador".  Someone who values the shows and is prepared to wave your flag in the parent support "groups" he or she is a member of and spread the word.
  • Be patient.  We only started in January and for the first two months the shows varied between 2 and 20 attendees.  Beauty & The Beast was exceptional but I'm not convinced we'll reach that figure every week.