Toddlers banned from Christmas panto - because they're too noisy!Alamy/file photo


Excited toddlers have been banned from attending a Christmas pantomime – because they're too noisy!

The Hawthorne Theatre in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, said it was not 'house policy' to allow children under 36 months in case their squeals and giggles ruin the performance for other youngsters.

But theatre bosses have been branded 'ridiculous' by furious parents.

Mother-of-five Mel Hackworth, 34, said she was refused entry from the theatre's Jack and the Beanstalk show for her six-month-old son Finley when she called the theatre to buy tickets.The box office told her that she would be allow to take her other four children, who are all old enough to attend, but would have to sit outside in the foyer with Finley while the show was on.

She said: "I asked if it was free for Finley to come in, and was told it's no children under three in case they make a noise.

"It's ridiculous, it's a children's pantomime, how can they not let under threes in?"

According to managers at the council-run theatre, it is not 'house policy' to allow children under 36 months in, although exceptions are made for certain family films. However, it would not be making an exception for Jack and the Beanstalk, which is designed to encourage audience participation, in case noisy youngsters ruin the performance for other children.

Mel added: "That's a lot of families that won't be able to go this year. What's the point of running a panto for children and not letting children in?"

Jack and the Beanstalk stars Holby City actress Phoebe Thomas as Princess Jill, Grange Hill's Alex Sheldon as Jack and Keith Myers as the dame and runs until New Years Day.

A spokesman for Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council which runs the theatre, said today: "Our current policy, stated in our terms and conditions on the website, under 'babes-in-arms', is that children under 36 months are not allowed into performances in the Hawthorne Theatre unless otherwise stated for certain film showings.

"It was suggested to the lady that she could stay in the foyer with her four-month-old baby while the rest of her party was inside the theatre, but that was before it became clear that she would be the only adult attending.

"This wouldn't have been put forward had it been known initially that the other children were also young and would be on their own."