Accessible Screenings UK

Frequently Asked Questions

This section aims to answer a number of common questions asked about accessible screenings and how audiences might benefit. Scroll down to find the question you want to ask. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, then please do contact us and we will try to help.

 

Cinema Listings (about this site)

How often are the listings updated?

Cinema listings are submitted to Accessible Screenings UK on a weekly basis for the week ahead. Any further updates are made on a daily basis. Some screenings, such as autism friendly (AF), may be pre-scheduled a month in advance.

Why can’t I find the film I want?

The two most likely reasons are as follows:

  1. The film may not yet be available with subtitles or audio description, something which is outside of the control of the cinema.

    While the vast majority of major releases are now available with embedded subtitling and/or audio description tracks, this is not true for every release.

    Many of the 800 films released into cinemas each year are smaller productions distributed by independent companies where the creation and inclusion of a subtitling and audio described track in these cases is not always straightforward. Scheduling pressures and the cost of producing these tracks can sometimes mean that they are not included in time for the film’s release into cinemas.

    This can also mean that cinemas sometimes do not know at the time of booking which films will arrive with the accessible tracks, making both scheduling and marketing more difficult.

    In some cases, for the reasons above, the subtitled and/or audio described versions of the film may arrive a week or two after its general release, so it is worth checking the Accessible Screenings UK website regularly for updated availability.

  2. The cinema is unable to make this type of screening available.

    Audio described films - it may be that the cinema does not have the necessary equipment.. This might be for reasons of cost or because they do not believe there is the local demand for this service. It is always worth highlighting to the cinema potential demand in the local area, so they can consider future provision.

    Subtitled screenings – as above, it could be that the cinema does not have the necessary equipment. Also, customers who do not need the subtitles will often avoid going to screenings where they are shown. This means that attendance is much lower than at a like-for-like comparable non-subtitled screening. These low attendance numbers can have significant financial implications for cinema operators.

    The sector is continuously looking for ways of increasing attendance at these screenings to encourage operators to increase their number. This website is one of those initiatives.

    Autism friendly screenings – these are still a fairly new addition to UK cinemas, but are becoming a regular feature. It could be that your local cinema is unaware of the demand. It may therefore be worth contacting your local cinema to see if this is something they could trial.

    You can check what types of accessible screenings are available at your local cinema by searching in the ‘Cinema Information’ section on this website. Start searching

Can I book tickets for an accessible screening in advance?

The ability to book tickets for a particular accessible screening will depend on the individual cinema company, though most UK cinema operators will allow customers to pre-book tickets over the telephone if they do not have online access.

The search results on the Accessible Screenings UK website will provide a link to take you to the cinema website for your chosen screening. For many cinemas, you will be taken straight to the online booking page. For some, however, this is not currently possible, so you will be taken to the home page of that cinema’s website. Please then follow the booking instructions.

Should you have any problems with booking tickets online, please contact the cinema directly. You can find their contact details by searching in the Cinema Information section on this website.

 

General  

I’ve had a positive/negative experience at my local cinema, how can I feed this back?

Accessible Screenings UK welcomes feedback on your recent cinema visit, be it good or bad. Your feedback will help us to make future improvements to UK cinemas in becoming more accessible to disabled customers.

To share your feedback, please complete our contact form.

Information provided will be shared with the relevant cinema operator, who may come back to you directly – or through the UK Cinema Association – to discuss any concerns or issues that arise.

I have a news story I would like to share – what can I do?

Accessible Screenings UK is keen to promote events and news stories relating to access and disability within UK Cinemas. To submit a piece for inclusion, complete our contact form.

Do you have a mailing list I can join?

Accessible Screenings UK maintains a mailing list which it uses to update subscribers through a regular newsletter. To sign up to that, please use the form on the bottom of any page. We will require a working email address for this purposes.

 

Audio Described Screenings (AD)

What are audio described screenings?

These are described under ‘Types of Screenings

How often do cinemas put on audio described screenings?

Audio described screenings are not available in every cinema. This will depend on the whether the relevant screen at that cinema is enabled to provide audio description.

If the cinema has audio description enabled for all of their screens and the film has been provided with the audio description track, then every screening of that film will be available to enjoy with audio description.

For more information on this please refer to the answer provided in "Why can’t I find the film I want?"

Or you can check your local cinema’s availability in the Cinema Information section on this website.

Where do I get the audio description headset from?

The audio description headsets can be borrowed from the cinema ticket office.

 

Autism Friendly Screenings (AFS)

What are autism friendly screenings?

These are described under ‘Types of Screenings

Is there a difference between relaxed and autism friendly screenings?

The terms ‘autism friendly’ and ‘relaxed’ are interchangeable. Although screenings are usually referred to as autism friendly screenings (AFS), some cinema operators use the term ‘relaxed’.

Do you have to have autism to attend an autism friendly screening?

No, autism friendly screenings are enjoyed by a wide range of people. They were originally developed to help people with conditions such as autism and Asperger Syndrome to enjoy the cinema. However, experience has shown such screenings can benefit other people with a broad range of cognitive conditions. Rather than trying to list those types of conditions, it is suggested people look at what these screenings do differently to see if they might be of benefit.

How often do cinemas put on autism friendly screenings?

Most cinemas have a regular day and time for the autism friendly screenings. The vast majority of cinemas will hold one to two screenings each month.

 

Subtitled or open captioned screenings (ST OR O/C)

What are subtitled or open captioned screenings?

These are described under ‘Types of Screenings

Who can benefit from subtitled or open captioned screenings?

Subtitled or open captioned screenings can benefit a range of people, including but not limited to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, people with English as a second language, and as a reading development aid.

Is there a difference between subtitled and open captioned screenings?

The terms ‘subtitled’ and ‘open captioned’ are essentially interchangeable.

Are subtitled or open captioned screenings available in every cinema?

Subtitled or open captioned screenings are not available in every cinema. Some of the reasons for this are set out under ‘Why can’t I find the film in the accessible format I want?

You can check whether a local cinema does provide subtitled or open captioned screening in the Cinema Information section on this website.

 

Physical access 

In order to plan my journey, where might I find information on access at my local cinema?

You can begin planning your journey to the cinema by searching in the Cinema Information section on this website. This will provide information on the access features of your chosen cinema. If the information you require is not there, then please contact the cinema directly. Contact details for each of the cinemas can also be found in the same section.

How can I find out whether the screening I want to go to has wheelchair access?

You can check wheelchair access – and the provision of wheelchair spaces in the auditorium - by searching in the Cinema Information section on this website.

Can I book a wheelchair space online?

Some cinemas allow you to book a wheelchair space online, but many currently cannot. Most cinemas will however allow customers to pre-book tickets over the phone, should online facilities not be available.

The Accessible Screenings UK search results will provide a link to take you to the cinema website for your chosen screening. For many cinemas, you will be taken straight to the online booking page. For some, however, this is not currently possible, so you will be taken to the home page of that cinema’s website. Please then follow the booking instructions.

Should you have any problems with booking tickets online, please contact the cinema directly. You can find their contact details by searching in the Cinema Information section on this website.

 

CEA Card 

What is the CEA Card?

The CEA Card is a national card scheme developed for UK cinemas by the UK Cinema Association (UKCA) [formerly the Cinema Exhibitors' Association] in partnership with the cinema sector and major charities.

The scheme is one way in which cinemas can make reasonable adjustments for disabled cinema guests. The CEA Card allows the cardholder to obtain ONE complimentary ticket for the person who is accompanying them, to provide assistance such as:

- supporting the cardholder in moving around the cinema, including finding and taking a seat;

- helping the cardholder to leave the cinema in the event of an emergency;

- accompanying or assisting the cardholder in using the cinema’s toilets;

- assisting the cardholder in purchasing refreshments.

The cardholder is required to purchase a full price ticket for themselves for the same performance of the same film in the same auditorium. The card can be used to attend any type of screening, including accessible screenings.

There is a £6.00 annual administrative fee for the CEA Card. To check whether you might be eligible for and/or to apply for the Card, please visit the CEA Card’s website. Please note that by clicking on this link you will be taken to a separate website.

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