Becoming a parent for the first time is a weird and wonderful experience, but once you've got over the initial shock of giving birth and suddenly having a small human to tend to pretty much twenty-four-seven, you peer back into the world you once lived in and see it from a different perspective. Gigs and clubs are out, for obvious reasons. So is the theatre. Even the simplest of spare-time pleasures, like lazing around with a book or magazine in a cafe, is out of the window. Yes, there are a whole heap of mother and baby activities that you can take part in and although they’re fun, they can become a little bit wearing on the senses when you’ve heard Head Shoulders Knees and Toes and The Wheels On The Bus at least five times in one week.
Thank God, then, for Broadway and its Bringing Up Baby series. Normally, it’s not really ideal (or even allowed) to take a baby to a place where silence is the only way to go and your bundle of joy is actually a ticking time bomb of screams, but Broadway’s dedicated baby-friendly screenings are a small step towards keeping all new mums and dads of Nottingham sane.
Although anyone is welcome to attend, it’s all geared towards the parents, offering a slice of normality in what has become a surreal universe. The films are the same ones the rest of the adult population get to see, The lights are never fully turned down so you can still see, change and feed your little one as required. Just as importantly, because everyone has an under-one-year-old, there’s no panic when yours starts to have a grumble. You can stand up, rock them, take them in and out , and not be met with anyone giving you the evil eye.
Upon entering my first Bringing Up Baby screening - The Artist - I was a little freaked out at the sight of at least fifty small round faces with big eyes looking every which way. With bean bags scattered about the front of the screen and the hallway turned into a car park for pushchairs, our every need was catered for. My baby slept through the majority of the film but the older babies sat transfixed at the screen, which was to them a large lamp (for those not in the know, babies love lamps. And curtains). Seriously relaxing stuff; a two hour haven where you can feel like a human being and enjoy an adult indulgence without once leaving your baby’s side.
After the screening - and beforehand if you can get yourself in gear - the parents all descend on the cafebar to catch up with each other, talk about the films and just generally continue the opportunity to interact with other adults. I got chatting with a group of mothers and - having had my universe turned upside down not seven weeks before - I found that I felt fully human again and hadn’t annoyed one single person. Priceless.
Bringing Up Baby screenings take place two to three times a month on Tuesdays - check the website for listings. Tickets are £4.50 each. Next screenings: Liberal Arts, Tuesday 9 October; Beasts of the Southern Wild, Tuesday 30 October.
Bringing Up Baby @ Broadway