Teresa Garratty: I just had the best day of my life at Secret (accessible) Cinema

Posted on June 9, 2016

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Over the last month, I found out a secret but I can’t keep it to myself anymore because I’m rubbish at things like that.

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Are you ready….? OK, here it goes.

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Secret Cinema is something I’ve been interested in for a while now. It’s an experience day based around the theme of a particular film, which is then screened at the end with additional live action performances.

It’s basically film nerd heaven.

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I’ve never been before as I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fully enjoy it, since I wouldn’t be able to hear much of the live action and the film would not be subtitled.

So I did what anyone faced with a challenge would do…I just wept whenever I saw anything related to it.

To make matters worse my brother (he’s a hearie) kept actually bloody going to them and inevitably talking about how great they were.

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So, what changed my mind and made me take the plunge into the world of Secret Cinema?

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Well, actually a deaf friend of mine attended the Back to the Future event and gave me some great tips on how to make it accessible (thanks Caroline!) but what really sealed the deal was the fact that this time the event would be based on 28 Days Later and there was no way I was going to miss out on running away from flesh hungry infected in a post apocalyptic world.

(It’s not weird. It’s just practice for when the real zombie apocalypse happens….AND IT WILL HAPPEN!)

So how was it?

BEST. EXPERIENCE. EVER.

Access wasn’t really an issue at all. Here’s how I did it…

I told them beforehand that I was deaf, and they told me that I’d just need to make them aware of any access requirements I had and make myself known on the day.

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I was given an orange arm band so that everyone knew I was special/different…and probably to help the team recognise that I had previously mentioned access requirements.

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I had my partner with me, who could lip speak or sign any of the live action dialogue, but this got us told off a couple of times (I’m assuming they couldn’t see my magic armband).

Now, I could have jumped on my soapbox and given a lecture on how I needed her to interpret for me but I let it go A) because I’m cool like that and B) because it would ruin the experience and to be fair was pretty much realistic. Let’s face it, when the zombie apocalypse happens, people are going to have bigger concerns than soapbox rants.

Lastly, for the actual screening of the film, I was allowed to use a tablet and a subtitle app (you press play when the first line is spoken and the subtitles play along with the film, it was flipping glorious!).

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I was asked a couple of times to put the tablet away as they’re very strict about keeping SECRET cinema a SECRET while it’s running. Eventually word got around that I was the “deaf one” and was using it only for subtitles, which meant I could kick back (on a bed, yes, we watched the film lying down in beds) and enjoy the rest of the film.

So, overall it was probably THE BEST FREAKIN’ DAY OF MY WHOLE FREAKIN’ LIFE!

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And as far as I’m concerned it’s the only way to watch films (sitting in front of the TV doesn’t do it for me anymore).

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I will definitely be going again and if you love films, actually, even if you don’t, you should go along to a Secret Cinema event. Don’t let being deaf put you off, you’ll enjoy just as much as all the other normal/boring people!

Read more of Teresa’s articles for us by clicking here.

Teresa is a freelance film maker, photographer and full time cynic. At school, she was voted “Most likely to end up in a lunatic asylum”, a fate which has thus far been avoided. Her pet hates are telephones, intercoms and all living things.

The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.

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