Improving the cinematic experience for people with disabilities

The Guardian newspaper today highlights a report produced by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers exposing the widespread second-class service people with disabilities experience in UK cinemas.

Read the Guardian report

Burrell Foley Fischer always ensures that all cinemas we design are fully accessible and provide a variety of seating positions for cinemagoers in wheelchairs and their able-bodied companions.  The Trailblazers report however found that this was unfortunately not standard practice in the industry, and that the smaller independent cinemas generally provide better access for disabled people than the major chains.

Download the full report

The report includes Stefanie Fischer’s tips for cinema operators and developers to make cinemas welcoming and accessible to all.  In the accompanying documentary, produced by the organisation, she comment’s, “Cinema designers and cinema exhibitors could be more aware and if the whole issue of how people access the auditoria is considered right from the outset then it is not difficult to provide a choice of seating positions”.

Watch the documentary

BFF's remodelling and refurbishment of Broadway, Nottingham's Media Centre, in a converted former Methodist Chapel was given an ADAPT award in 1998.  Our conversion of Norwich Cinema City from a single to a three-screen proved that it is possible to make a fully accessible venue even in a Grade I Listed building.  It won the National Local Authority Building Control Built in Quality Award 2008 for the Best Project for Access or compliance with Disability Regulations.  

The report also features Stratford East Picturehouse, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer, as an example of best practice, commenting “the cinema demonstrates that architects clearly considered accessibility when planning the new design.  There is inclusive access throughout the cinema and at no point does a disabled person feel segregated”.