Dementia Friendly screenings at Picturehouse

Picturehouse are proud to be introducing Dementia Friendly screenings to 20 of their cinemas across the country, with the aim of making cinema more accessible to local dementia communities.

Picturehouse initially piloted Dementia Friendly screenings at the Hackney Picturehouse and Picturehouse at FACT in Liverpool. With welcome support and National Lottery funding through the BFI’s Film Audience Network, the screenings will now extend to 18 additional Picturehouses over October and November.

Dementia Friendly screenings seek to provide a fun and inclusive experience to enable people living with dementia, their families and carers to attend the cinema in a safe and welcoming environment.

Open to the general public too, the screenings are enhanced to suit the needs of people living with dementia: the lights are left on low, there are no adverts or trailers and the audience is allowed to move around – or sing along to any musical numbers – should they wish to.

Free tea, coffee and biscuits are served for half an hour before the film to give people the chance to meet and socialise with others, and to familiarise themselves with the cinema space.

Tickets are at the reduced price of £4 per person, with a free place for accompanying carers.

Esther Watts, The Alzheimer’s Society’s Project Manager for Dementia Action Alliances (Greater London) says of the project “We are delighted Picturehouse cinemas are providing dementia friendly screenings. Organisations like Picturehouse reaching out to help support people living with dementia in the community make all the difference, providing a chance to socialise, enjoy a favourite film together and get out and about. We are really pleased to be working with them as part of Dementia Friendly London.”

Clare Binns, Programming and Acquisitions Director at Picturehouse said “We believe that cinema should be accessible to everyone, and it’s fantastic to make our cinemas more welcoming to the dementia community. We hope that these screenings will also help challenge the stigma associated with the condition for all our customers coming to our Picturehouses around the UK.”

Lyn Goleby, Managing Director at Picturehouse added: “It’s proven that film is a powerful way to connect with memories and we’re pleased that by providing a film and an easy social environment we are able to make a small enhancement to the lives of people living with dementia.”

Eleanor Thornley, from the BFI Film Network Hub says, “There is nothing quite like seeing a great film on the big screen, and the BFI Film Audience Network is passionate about making sure that everyone can have access to this fantastic communal experience. We are so pleased to support this initiative with Picturehouse, ensuring that people living with dementia and their loved ones and carers can still enjoy a day out at the cinema.”

In addition to the adaptations that have been made to the environment, each cinema will begin to build up a collection of film memorabilia, including old film magazines, to support informal Reminiscence activities around the screenings.

Picturehouse staff are also attending Dementia Friends sessions so that they have a basic understanding of what it can be like living with dementia and can better understand and respond to the needs of the people attending.

To start with, screenings will run every 6 weeks and will include a selection of old classics and musicals, based on feedback and requests from audiences who attended the pilot screenings earlier this year. With increased demand, the screenings may become more frequent and feedback from audiences will continue to shape the programming.

Our first screenings will be 42nd STREET, MEET ME IN ST LOUIS and AN AMERICAN IN PARIS.

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