ON WITH THE SHOW: Limelight manager Noah Halloway with Melissa, Delilah and Harlie Preddice, who are excited about the Lighten Up screening of Peter Rabbit.
ON WITH THE SHOW: Limelight manager Noah Halloway with Melissa, Delilah and Harlie Preddice, who are excited about the Lighten Up screening of Peter Rabbit. Darren Hallesy

Parents rejoice at special screening this Sunday

KEEPING kids quiet at the cinema can be draining for many parents, and who hasn't been there?

It can cause embarrassment for the parents, and children can get upset at the darkness or the noise, especially children with autism and special needs.

Limelight Cinemas at Riverlink is hoping that it has the solution that will appeal to families in this situaiton, with the hope that it will become a fixture for parents at future screenings.

The Lighten Up session at Limelight tomorrow will screen the hit movie Peter Rabbit, and the normal social rules of a cinema won't apply.

"In this screening the lights will not be turned off, in fact they will just be dimmed," said General Manager Noah Halloway. "Nobody will get in trouble for letting their kids talk, or moving around the cinema. There will also be captions on screen, and adaptive technology is something that is encouraged."

Mr Halloway said that this concept had been trialled at their sister cinema complex in Canberra, and was also based on requests form Ipswich parents.

Coles supermarkets last year successfully trialled 'Quiet Hour' events at 70 stores across the nation that allowed parents with children who find heightened sensory environments challenging to shop in an environment suited to them.

"It came from feedback from customer base that there were many parents who had kids that were a bit rambunctious and felt uncomfortable going to a general session. They told us that they'd tried to go to the BYO Baby sessions but it still wasn't right for them.

"We live in a world where in business and society you need to include and appeal to every kind of customer. It's something that we want to keep doing but we also have to find the right movies for it too.

"It's aimed at anyone who wants to have a cinema experience who isn't normal comfy with the fact you have to be quiet, and keep your kids under control. We've been asked in the past about screenings like this, as they've been going on around the world for a while now. You have to cater to everyone, and in society we now accept that everyone is different.

"I'd love to get feedback from people to see what they think of the idea, good or bad, as it helps us to deliver what Ipswich people want," Mr Halloway said.

Melissa Preddice from Brassall loves the idea, as her son Harlie (6) is afraid of the dark, which meant a trip to the movies would be awkward and frustrating for her at times.

"Harlie still sleeps with a night light on, and I like the idea as you are able to go into a screening without worrying about distracting too many people. The worst thing is being embarrassed when the kids play up or get upset at the movies, it's happened a few times and every parent has been through it," Ms Preddice said. "I think this will be a lot easier, and Harlie is excited that the lights will stay on during the movie, as usually before a movie starts it goes pitch black, and this way he'll feel like he is in a safe zone."

Melissa has advice for parents who haven't attended screenings like this.

"My advice is to come along and try it out, it may not be for everyone, but you've got nothing to lose by giving it a go. We'll be there!"

RULES FOR LIGHTEN UP SESSION

The lights are turned up and the noise is turned down for a less confronting experience

Talking, making noise and moving around is encouraged

All ages are welcome - including infants, perfect for parents with more than one child

Adaptive technology is welcome

Showcasing family friendly films

No shushing or eye-rolling allowed

On screen captions

Book your seats online to pick a spot that suits you and your family