B&B Theatres is a family-owned and -operated theater company, committed to core values of family, fun, innovation, joy, and integrity. Following a recent companywide meeting, the organization was inspired to launch a nationwide initiative in an attempt to make movie going a fun family event every day – for every single person.
What inspired this effort? B&B Theatres aspires to be an industry leader, starting a trend of true inclusion for guests. The company has been partnered with Variety- the Children’s Charity for many years and prioritizes the importance of reaching the entire population of humanity that can and should enjoy the magic of the movies.
Because B&B is family-owned, its owners and operators are sensitive to the communities and families they serve. A recent executive meeting sought to answer the question, “How could B&B make it possible for more movie-goers to be comfortable and enjoy the movies, not just during a sensory-friendly showtime, but at all times?”.
They reached out to Variety of Greater Kansas City for ideas, and an idea began to formulate.
The resulting initiative first launched in the Kansas City area and will now expand nationwide to all B&B Theatres locations in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Florida.
- It starts with staff training and an emphasis on inclusion. Knowledge will empower B&B team members to compassionately engage and thoughtfully interact.
- Variety and B&B have partnered to produce and place Sensory Backpacks full of useful, sensory aids that can be checked out at the box office for free while at the movies. These backpacks include weighted lap-pads, noise canceling headsets, fidget cubes, and dark glasses, among other items.
- Each backpack will be cleaned and sanitized upon return and prior to being returned to circulation.
“One out of every four families has a member with some sort of disability,” explains Deborah Wiebrecht, executive director of Variety KC. “What B&B Theatres is doing is serving the entire population, when the family chooses to go to the movies – not when a special night is made available. That is truly inclusion!”
Paul Farnsworth, director of public relations for B&B Theatres, said of the effort, “We are proud to be working with Variety to lead this inclusion revolution in the theatrical space. Our Sensory Showtimes opened our eyes to the families and individuals that have difficulty enjoying films in traditional theatrical settings. These backpacks will help to empower and enable those guests to feel more welcome and better accommodated in our facilities, and we’re beyond thrilled to be able to promote this initiative and our commitment to creating an environment that is comfortable for all.”
B&B Theatres will support this effort in all subsequent new builds, acquisitions, and projects, and hopes to be a trendsetter, leading the industry with inclusive efforts. This initiative will also create an awareness for all their patrons, who in turn may be more understanding.