From Able Magazine #109 (January/February 2014)
The CEA Disability Working Group brings together the big companies along with their advisors Freeney Williams, industry experts and the independent cinema chains. The group discusses areas of disability and access and seeks to identify ways of moving forward in this area to the benefit of all.
The CEA runs a card scheme to enable disabled people to take their carer with them into film showings without having to pay ‘twice’. The simple photo-card costs just £5.50 for an entire year and can be used in cinemas run by Cineworld, Odeon, Showcase and Vue (as well as others).
As well as this the CEA, through its own Disability Working group (and working with autism charity, Dimensions) has developed other disability friendly schemes including a training initiative aimed at raising the level of understanding of and provision for disabled people. Their ‘autism friendly’ film showings have also become very popular.
The autism friendly film showings take place once a month at cinemas and provide an environment conducive to people with autistic spectrum disorders. The specific cinema screen used is always the same providing familiarity and the lights are left slightly on to prevent the usual cinema blackout conditions. There are no trailers before the main feature and noise is permitted, taking pressure off carers and disabled people alike.
Most impressive is that the four cinema groups under the CEA umbrella have chosen to present their autistic screenings on different Sundays from each other, giving customers a place to go on any given weekend.