A wide range of UK cinema companies and venues – including leading circuits Cineworld, ODEON and Vue as well as many smaller operators – will show their support for National Deaf Awareness Week by increasing their offer of subtitled screenings for deaf or hearing-impaired customers.

National Deaf Awareness Week, which this year runs from 2-8 May, provides an opportunity for organisations across the UK to raise awareness and show their support for people with hearing loss.

The UK Cinema Association, the trade body representing the vast majority of UK cinema companies, has worked with many within its membership to explore what they might do to contribute to the event. As a result, the three companies named above, plus a number of other cinema operators – both large and small – are increasing the number of subtitled screenings they normally run, including some who will be for the first time running subtitled screenings on each day during this week.

In many cases the pre-show for those screenings will also include some subtitled trailers, something on which colleagues in the US major film distributors have committed to make additional efforts in response to the event.

The intention is to raise awareness of accessible cinema and highlight the existing provision that is already available at cinemas across the UK, but more importantly to encourage deaf and hard of hearing audiences and their families to come to the cinema and enjoy the big screen experience.

Commenting on the cinema sector’s contribution to National Deaf Awareness Week, UK Cinema Association Chief Executive Phil Clapp said:

“We want to make sure that everyone can enjoy the big screen experience and hope that by promoting subtitled films and raising awareness in cinemas during National Deaf Awareness week, we will encourage not only those hard of hearing customers, but also general audiences to experience subtitled films in the cinema.

Despite the disruption of the past few years, we are proud of the progress that the industry has made in providing access to subtitling in cinemas.

We are delighted to be supporting National Deaf Awareness week as part of our ongoing commitment to improving access for all at the cinema. We would encourage everyone to visit our one-stop shop for accessible screenings – www.accessiblescreeningsuk.co.uk – to find out what subtitled screenings are planned at their local cinema.”

Jane Woodason at The Light Cinemas said:

“In support of Deaf Awareness Week, The Light has committed to show additional subtitled screenings of a wide range of films with the aim of making all our films available for everyone.

As well as screening content in subtitled format, the Light is looking to engage with target audiences to stay relevant and inclusive.”

WTW-Scott Cinemas said:

“WTW-Scott Cinemas are pleased to be increasing the number of subtitled screenings for Deaf Awareness Week. Enjoying a film on the Big Screen is the best way to experience a new release and we look forward to welcoming and assisting those with hearing loss not only this week but into the future as well.”

Chapter Arts Centre, a multi-arts venue based in Cardiff said:

“Chapter is proud to offer at least one captioned screening every day so people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing can experience film in the best way possible – with an audience in a friendly venue. For Deaf Awareness Week, we’re putting Deaf creative talent at the centre of our programming.”

The full Press Release can be found here.