Empire Cinemas Disappoints Deaf children in Ipswich

Written by MiriamSpall on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 18:34

A group of parents in Suffolk are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to improving the access for their deaf children to local activities and services.

“As a parent of a deaf child I had to rethink what activities he could get involved in, to make sure he had the right access and communication so that he doesn’t feel isolated.  After joining the Ipswich and District Deaf Children's Society (IDDCS) I realised that the sentiment was shared with other local parents in the deaf community and we decided to do something about it” - Miriam Spall

Our journey started after a disappointing trip to the cinema, when we learned that our children heavily rely on subtitles to understand what is being said. Cinemas use equipment that is outdated or not compatible with modern hearing equipment.

We had a successful meeting with Adam Root the manager at Empire Cinemas in Ipswich, and he agreed to increase the number of subtitled films at reasonable times. However, the first weekend a group of parents were left dismayed after going to see a subtitled film; and realising that they were about to watch a movie with background music rather than sound and no subtitles. The manager on duty, tried to apologize but unfortunately he was not deaf aware, he did not speak clearly, the room was dark so lipreading was not an option and he had to reply on someone else to help him communicate.

Following this experience, a group of parents return to watch a subtitled film and all was as it should be. But unfortunately,  since then the number of subtitled films have been reduced to once a week again. In order for people to trust access subtitled films, there must be a consistent approach.

We continue to keep our lines of communication open, and are continuing to highlight the importance of subtitles to allow our children access to the cinema.


Image of Alex and Miriam
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Where To Take Our Children