Shelby Theatres offering sensory friendly movies

| November 29, 2021

Jaxson Bantum, 5, was excited to see his first movie in a theater. He was able to do this thanks to Shelby Theatres offering sensory friendly movies. The next sensory friendly movie will be the animated “The Grinch” and will be shown on Dec. 4 at 10:30 a.m. (Submitted)

For many special needs families, simply going to a movie isn’t usually an option. The loud movie, the dark theater and the need to sit quietly can have a huge effect on those with sensory issues. Flashing lights and loud music can be extremely painful. Add to that the fact that others in the theater can be cruel to those with special needs and most families just choose to stay home. Shelby Theatre is choosing to help those families by offering sensory friendly movies.

A sensory friendly movie is one where the lights are not turned all the way down and the sound is turned low. The crowd is welcome to make noise and move around as needed so they can all enjoy the movie together. Shelby Theatres held a sensory friendly movie in September and many families enjoyed the experience.

Melissa Bantum and her husband, Brett, brought their 5-year-old son, Jaxson. “We thought we would never be able to take Jaxson to watch a movie in a movie theater because people usually like others to be quiet and that word does not apply to Jaxson. The fact that they lower the volume and it’s not too dark helps immensely, as well. Jody (Lowe) will never know how much we appreciate her doing this for us.”

Cherie Reveal brought her son, Riley, to the movie in September and is looking forward to him enjoying the next one, too. “I have enjoyed the sensory friendly movies because it gives Riley the freedom to be himself and allows us, as parents, to relax and enjoy his happiness.” Riley said he likes the movies “because it’s nice to relax and watch a movie.”

“It gives the children and adults a chance to experience the joy of watching a movie without the loudness and darkness of a regular movie time. Sensitive hearing is a huge concern, and this is a great opportunity. It also is great that they don’t have to be confined to one area. It relieves a lot of tension for the families.  It’s an opportunity for the family to share the experience of a movie with no worries of distraction. Thank you (Shelby Theatres) for the opportunity to enjoy movie time,” said Sandy Hardesty, who took her grandson, Cyrys.

Jodi Lowe, owner of Shelby Theatre, said she was happy to offer the movies when she was approached with the need. “I hadn’t realized there were so many people who couldn’t, or didn’t want to, sit in a loud, dark theater. We wanted to offer these because we want everyone to be able to enjoy a movie. We feel blessed that we can offer this opportunity and that we can accommodate what people need.”

The next sensory friendly movie will be shown at Shelby Theatres on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 10:30 a.m. The movie will be the animated “The Grinch” from 2018.  The cost of a ticket is $4 per person, or you can choose a combo of movie, drink and popcorn for $7.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

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