Gorleston cinema to start autism-friendly screenings

PUBLISHED: 13:23 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:23 18 July 2018

The Palace cinema in Gorleston opens to the public.
Picture: Nick Butcher

The Palace cinema in Gorleston opens to the public. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

Gorleston’s Palace Cinema is starting autism-friendly screenings from Sunday.

The Palace Cinema which is due to re-open next month. Photo: Liz CoatesThe Palace Cinema which is due to re-open next month. Photo: Liz Coates

The special showings will see the lights left on low and the sound turned down.

Owner Patrick Duffy, said they would be on at 11am in screen 2 would be suitable for anyone who preferred a lower-key experience.

For some people with a range of disabilities and preferences going to the cinema could be a difficult experience, he said, and the aim was to make it more comfortable.

Over the weeks they would see how it went and be guided by feedback, Mr Duffy added.

“It is not about having a market it is about a community facility.

“We have taken advice and we are running a trial on Sunday mornings for families who want to bring any children that might not like loud sounds.

“We will see how we get on, listen to parents, and adapt it to make the best experience possible.”

He said the prices would be the same as usual but they would lifting restrictions about what could be brought into the cinema in terms of food and drink, for the autism-friendly showing only.

There will also be an opportunity for movie fans to familiarise themselves with the venue up to an hour before.

And if anyone does feel overwhelmed the catering and bar area will be kept open as a space to acclimatise in.

So far the cinema had been “astounded” by the feedback.

Mr Duffy said: “It was not my idea, it came from a customer who was talking to the manager.

“It it contributes to the wellbeing of the town then that’s all good.

“It is very important that if you have somebody that is a little bit different you do not want to feel different, you want to feel comfortable. Sometimes children just go through a difficult phase and this may be a good facility for someone.

“Personally I do not like really loud music or sound.”

The cinema opened in November.

The 1939 landmark was built as a cinema and later converted to a bingo hall.

The Art-Deco style venue has a capacity for 540 movie fans.

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