Metro Cinema is investing in our future at the Garneau Theatre. We have installed a hearing assistance system, added subtitles to some of our screenings to accommodate the deaf community, adding a universal-access washroom and better wheelchair access to our auditorium, and training our staff to better respond with respect and efficiency to the needs of patrons with disabilities.
We would like to bring together our improved capacity with a proven and multi-faceted desire in the community for films of quality and substance, offered in a way that makes them more accessible to sometimes marginalized communities. Specifically, we would be aiming to present an additional screening each week, probably on Thursday afternoons. These screenings would be primarily geared toward the needs of:
• Parents with infants seeking an adult-focused film experience, but in an atmosphere welcoming to all.
• Members of the autism community, seeking an experience that will be more controlled, more sensitive to their needs.
• Patrons who are deaf and seeking clear and professionally produced subtitling.
• Groups of day classes from the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers and other ESL programs for recent arrivals to Edmonton. We have discovered that films in English with English subtitles are of interest to this community, as it allows new readers to test their comprehension in a clear and entertaining context.
• Patrons with mobility issues, many of whom prefer daytime events because of their need to accommodate transportation and professional aid schedules.
• Retired individuals who find it easier and more comfortable to access the Garneau neighbourhood during the day, and who may appreciate a less frenetic environment.
Who Will it Benefit?
The series will appeal both to dedicated film-lovers and to those who are hoping to reconnect with a broader community through film. Specific communities targeted for service by this program would include:
• Adults on the autism spectrum.
• Members of the deaf community.
• Patrons with mild to severe hearing loss.
• Patrons with mild to significant mobility impairments.
• At-home parents with infant children.
• Individuals and groups learning English seeking to use film to test and expand their understanding of the language.
The Garneau Theatre can accommodate 500 patrons, but to ensure that we maintain a calm and relaxed atmosphere, attendance at these screenings would be capped at 200. We anticipate that, until adoption of this program catches on with the target groups, average attendance will likely be under 50 per screening. In the first year of this program, we hope to serve 2,000 patrons.