Melton cinema set to reopen with special inclusive screenings
Film fans suffering from dementia and those on the autism spectrum will be able to attend special daytime screeings at Melton’s Regal Cinema after it reopens on Friday.
Owners of the popular King Street picture house, which has been closed since November due to the coronavirus pandemic, have plans to make the place more inclusive.
‘Dementia-friendly screenings’ will be on the third Thursday of the month and ‘relaxed screenings’ on the second Thursday of the month, with low sound and light levels plus minimal trailers and no adverts before the films.
The aim is reduce the number of distractions - the auditorium will also only be 50 per cent full and customers can choose where to sit - to make the experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Manager Jacob Mundin told the Melton Times: “With the dementia screenings, they will be familiar films and we want to create a positive experience because, of course, they remember things emotionally rather than physically,
“If they can associate The Regal as a nice place to be we can give them a couple of hours of enjoyment.”
The relaxed screenings are for anyone with anxiety issues, as well as autistic people.
“We’ve aimed it at adults with autism but anyone who is wary about people sitting too close to them or sitting in the dark is welcome,” Jacob explained.
“The lights are going to be on and the sound will be low so they won’t need to worry about it.
“Hopefully they will get to the point where they feel they can come to an evening show.”
Other special features planned at the Regal are screenings with captions, for people who are deaf, and also film sessions for mothers and toddlers.
It’s been a tough 15 months for the cinema since it closed during the Covid lockdown in March 2020 - it reopened for six weeks last September but has been closed for the last seven months as restrictions have come back in for indoor entertainment events.
It was given nearly £100,000 in government funding to keep it going and Jacob described that support as ‘a lifesaver’.
During the long closure period, the building has been redecorated, a baby changing area installed and an online booking hall set up.
Among the early films scheduled are A Quiet Place 2, Dream Horse and Nomad Land, as well as movies which were disrupted by the pandemic, such as Military Wives.
Ticket sales have been vibrant with 300 made on the opening day of the Regal taking bookings again.
Social distancing conditions will continue even after the expected lifting of all Covid restrictions on July 19.
So customers will still have spaces and dividers between them and other groups, there will be reduced capacities and people will need to wear a mask except when eating or drinking.
Jacob added: “We have the new James Bond film out on September 30 and that is the date I have in my mind for finishing all the social distancing measures.
“I am thinking that we will open up fully and start making money at that point but until then we will just tick along and make sure everyone is comfortable.”
Go to www.regalcinemamelton.com/ to see the film schedule at the Regal and to book tickets.