Thursday, 26 November 2015

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Cumbrian cinema to offer film screenings for the autistic

A cinema is reaching out to a wider audience by offering autism-friendly shows.

Workington’s Plaza Cinemas will launch the first of its shows at the weekend where a number of steps will be taken to help people with the condition feel more comfortable.

As some people with autism find going to the cinema intimidating because of the darkness and loudness in the auditorium, as well as finding it difficult to sit for a long time, bosses at the Dunmail Park cinema have worked hard to help them overcome these barriers.

At the screenings, the lights will be turned up, the sound down and people will be able to move around if they need to. Adverts and trailers will also be removed from the show.

The cinema was approached by the west Cumbrian-based Independent Community Autism Activity Network which asked to hold a screening for its group. And following the “overwhelming response” a decision was made to make autism-friendly screenings permanent.

Charlotte Kennedy, Plaza Cinema’s marketing manager said: “We were taken aback by the reaction we received to hosting these screenings from families who have never dared venture to the cinema or who had found it too difficult to experience.

“We really didn’t expect that there would be such a high demand and, with such positive feedback, felt it was essential to introduce them as part of our regular programme.”

Mark McLaughlin attended the recent screening of Turbo with his wife and son.

“I’ve never seen my boy’s little face more chuffed in my life, the chair swallowed him up, he sat with his pic ‘n’ mix and drink and absolutely loved the movie,” he said.

“I’m really pleased that a local venue such as the Plaza is recognising the need and the demand for events like this; my son will be absolutely over the moon.”

The first screening will be on Sunday with Walking with Dinosaurs at 10.50am and a different film will be shown every three weeks including Rio 2, Monsters University and Free Birds.

Anyone interested in receiving a social profile for any of the screenings or more details should email


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