Autism-friendly screenings at Keighley cinema

Autism-friendly screenings at Keighley cinema

Picture House assistant manager David Pedrick turns down the volume at the cinema (7033243)

Picture House assistant manager David Pedrick turns down the volume at the cinema (7033239)

Picture House assistant manager David Pedrick turns down the volume at the cinema (7033249)

Picture House assistant manager David Pedrick turns down the volume at the cinema (7033199)

Picture House assistant manager David Pedrick turns down the volume at the cinema (7033210)

Picture House assistant manager David Pedrick turns down the volume at the cinema (7033231)

Picture House assistant manager David Pedrick turns down the volume at the cinema (7033165)

First published in News

Keighley Picture House is hosting special film shows for people with autism and other disabilities.

Staff are adapting the presentation of blockbuster movies to give families a more positive experience.

Changes to the cinema environment aim to reduce stress for children on the autistic spectrum, or with sensory difficulties or learning disabilities.

The monthly screenings are also ideal for under-fives because audience members are not expected to stay quiet and in their seats all the time.

The Picture House, in North Street, has introduced the “autism-friendly” screenings following requests from the public.

The programme began earlier this month with the Postman Pat movie, and will continue on the last Saturday of each month at about 11.30am.

Picture House manager Bob James said the special performances featured subtle changes to the cinema environment so that people who had sensory difficulties would have a more positive experience than they would have in a traditional cinema setting.

He said the changes included the lights being kept on at a low level, lower-than-usual sound levels, no trailers or advertisements before the film, and an allowance for increased levels of movement and noise.

Mr James hoped there would be a good response to the initiative as word spread about the monthly screenings.

He said: “We hope that, as people with sensory difficulties become more familiar with the cinema environment, maybe at some point they will feel comfortable attending standard screenings.

“We would welcome feedback as to what further changes we could make which would enhance the cinema-going experience for people with these difficulties.”

Assistant manager David Pedrick said the Postman Pat screening had attracted about a dozen families, mostly parents with young children.

He said a bigger audience was expected for the second screening, probably on June 28, as word spread through the networks of local parents.

He said: “The idea is that we will show whatever is the most recent children’s film.

“It’s not just an autism-friendly screening – we’re looking to create an environment that’s more tolerant of noise and disturbance.

“It’s about opening up the cinema to everyone. It’s about changing simple things. Under-fives are being encouraged.”

Each monthly screening will be at about 11.30am, but the exact time will depend on the length of each film and will be designed to fit in with the rest of the cinema's programming through Saturday afternoon.

Call the Picture House on 01535 602561, email picturehousecinema@gmail.com or visit keighley.nm-cinemas.co.uk, for further information about autism-friendly films and screening times.

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