Cinema for us (all of us) – Wicked Cinema

Screenings by and for learning disabled young people at Rhyl Little Theatre.
Rhiannon Hughes, Director at Wicked Cinema

Project overview

We are working with Tir Morfa special school and the film enterprise group they have set up in the school ReACTions  to run screenings for the whole school. The school has around 120 pupils, which includes children with moderate and profound learning disabilities. The screenings take place at Rhyl Little theatre, home to the Pop-Up, Wicked Cinema. It is the children with the moderate learning difficulties who plan the screenings for the children in the school, particularly for the children in wheelchairs with carers. We screen the same film at the same time in the main cinema, and in a rehearsal room, which can accommodate 22 wheelchairs and their carers. They also bring their lovely dog, who wanders around as a comfort to the children.

Why the project matters

It means that the whole school and all the children, whatever their disability, can watch and enjoy a film collectively at the same time. The level of their disability does not matter – we have children with oxygen masks and receiving intravenous medication watching a film – having equal access with their school friends.


The aims of the cinema, which is a community pop-up cinema run by young volunteers, is to bring cinema back to families and groups with disabilities, who have stopped going to the cinema, owing to cost, or because a restricted  environment makes it impossible.

Headline results

Total equality of access is achieved and inclusiveness, with young wicked volunteers working alongside members of ReACTions.  


  • Polar Express
  • Sing-along Greatest Showman


Key partnerships  

  • Tir Morfa Special School
  • Rhyl Little Theatre
  • Prestatyn Pop In Centre
  • Film Hub Wales
  • Wicked Cinema



The budget is used on the film licence, the hire of theatre and rehearsal room for wheelchairs, expenses for volunteers and coordinator, including  transport and refreshments, bought merchandise and refreshments for teachers and carers.

£340 per screening

Learning outcomes

What worked   

Everything – thanks to a committed group of teachers. It  is always a very emotional and happy day and there is a feeling that everyone has achieved something.

What didn’t work

Everything worked, really.

What you’d do differently if you did it again

We are looking to expand the role of the enterprise group in the school by helping them to market a screening to other schools, bringing in more income to share. It is a simple and achievable model to follow, and one which we want to roll out to other schools, but it is the special school and their inspirational teachers who are leading the way.



We are working with children, all of whom have learning disabilities. The children, with the moderate learning disabilities, plan, programme, market and sell the merchandise for screenings, which include the whole school –  22 children in wheelchairs with severe learning difficulties. The children who plan the screenings work with the Wicked Cinema Young Programmers. Wicked Cinema share any takings (tickets, a drink and popcorn is £1.50) with the school, which helps to buy film equipment.

Knowledge & experience

The teachers say that the pupils learn so many different skills planning the screenings. Looking at the certification of films helps their numeracy, designing the posters and the tickets, marketing, working with the ‘public’ at the cinema increases confidence and they count the takings, learning about money. The children who can walk to the cinema from the school, which is about a 20-25 minute walk, get out of the school into the fresh air – despite pouring rain, they come!

Screenings result in an excellent atmosphere. As an example, one of the reACTions group, a young boy with multiple sclerosis, a volunteer, came wearing lots of jewellry, and when he was given a volunteer badge, he was told we didn’t have the right name. He replied “I will be Brenda! I’ve got my bangles on.” So, we all took names of the opposite sex.