What’s Your Child Policy?

question markYesterday’s post about the MTT situation at the New World Symphony prompted a number of direct replies from arts mangers who were all quite keen to share a wide variety of anecdotes and most took the time to mention their respective organization’s child policy (or lack thereof), all of which made me curious to know more as I’ve never seen any sort of field-wide survey (if you know of one, I’d love to see it).

To that end, today’s post is a trio of queries:

  1. Does your organization encourage parents to bring children to all and/or certain types/series of events?
  2. Does your organization have a child policy?
  3. Does your organization have an official usher or patron services representative policy on how disruptive patrons under a certain age should be addressed?

I’m very curious to see what comes back so thank you in advance for taking the time to leave a comment, I’m sure everyone will benefit from having a broader perspective.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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3 thoughts on “What’s Your Child Policy?

  1. Here’s our policy: “Only children who are mature enough to sit quietly during a concert, without disturbing their neighbors, should attend DPO Classical, Classical Connections, Chamber, and SuperPops series concerts. For parents looking for a way to introduce younger children to music, our Family Series concerts are the perfect opportunity. They are programs designed specifically with children in mind, each one lasting about one hour.”

    If a disruptive child does appear in the hall (and this has happened recently), our ushers are directed to ask the child and parent to exit as discretely as possible.

  2. Terrific Paul and I’m just curious, are any of your stage configurations such that the conductor and/or any stage performer have the ability to communicate with an audience member (as is the case at NWS)? If nothing else, this brings up an interesting byproduct related to the trend of making performance environments more intimate.

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