“Babies are welcome… if they crawl on stage
we are ready for anything!”
Following an uneasy experience bringing her new baby to a show, Tina Hofman, creator of DadMan: The Bathtime Warrior, decided to set about making quality theatre that’s enjoyable for all, in a space where new parents can feel confident that they and their babies are welcome. Now her company Notnow Collective are Arts Council funded, and the future is looking rosy for baby-friendly theatre.
What can we expect from DadMan?
We offer an eclectic mix of stories and songs about birth, work-life balance, trust and post-baby sex life, bits of new writing, some amazing stage fighting, and puppetry set in the most surprising place! It is a dynamic and funny show, with moments that will strike real and true. Although it is a show geared at adults, babies are fully welcome, to the extent that if they cry, feed, gurgle, walk or crawl on stage, they won’t interrupt the show. We are ready for anything!
What’s the inspiration behind the show?
DadMan was initially inspired by a neighbour saluting a dad in the park, with one baby in the swing and the other on the slide, saying: “Giving Mum a day off?”
We also playfully investigate what can happen when fathers enter “mother’s arena of expertise”. The show is created in the rehearsal room with babies and children, and all the chaos and order of that dynamic is transposed into the show.
Who do you think DadMan will appeal to?
We have promised the show to dads, and would REALLY hope to get many of them into the audience. However, as two mums who have created it, we know it also very much appeals to mums (and grandmothers). We often hear: “It is great to see the dad’s point of view!” and “Oh, I can just hear myself saying that!”
Are we going to need to swot up for the quiz?
Not at all: sit back and enjoy whilst watching two dads competing for the title of Breadwinner! However, if you feel you’d like to participate, we always leave space for gentle audience interaction!
What do you hope your audiences take from the show?
The show hopes to throw light on how much fatherhood and the role of the father has changed, and how we individually deal with those changes. We have collected some interesting research bits from both media and people investigating fatherhood and motherhood. We were told by the couples that the show raised their appreciation of each other. Also, we had dads approaching our performers and thanking them for voicing things not often voiced, as well as telling the stories of men’s vulnerability and guilt. Fundamentally, we want to give audiences an empowering and entertaining experience of live theatre, spiced up with the element of having babies in the room.
What’s the best bit of feedback you’ve ever received?
“I thoroughly enjoyed the show… so did my 2 month old!”
“Perfect mix of funny and poignant!”
“Beautifully honest. Great to see this angle on parenthood.”
If you could spend a day as a dad instead of a mum, what would you do?
In the context of our family and how we live, I’d still run around hurrying the kids to get dressed in the morning, I’d still change the same amount of nappies, and do whatever needs to be done in the house. My role as a dad would not be that different to my role as a mum.
But I would probably have really big strop at anyone saying: “Giving Mum a day off?”, or “Mum knows better…”