Sensory series

ESSEX TOWN — Next Saturday, April 15, Essex Cinemas is bringing back its sensory friendly film series to the T-Rex theater.

Movie theaters are typically very dark, very loud and can be overwhelming for folks with sensory issues. This upcoming series allows for those with sensory issues to still enjoy the big picture experience, just with a slightly lower volume and dim overhead lights.

Neurodivergent people, such as those on the autism spectrum or those with ADHD, can experience sensory overload from noise and other stimulants. Starting in April, the cinema’s film series kicks off during Autism Acceptance Month. 

Turning the volume down in the theaters is already common practice for Essex Cinemas as people often ask for the sound to be quieter, the theater’s manager Eric Reynolds told the Reporter.

“We do that regularly anyway, it’s almost a daily thing that people come out and say it’s too loud,” Reynolds said. “If you work with any sound people in the industry they always insist that it should be louder, but really most of our patrons [say] ‘that’s too loud for us.’”

The sensory friendly series is a nationwide practice used in most movie theaters, and a service Essex Cinemas previously offered before COVD-19.

The series is starting off with three separate movie screenings at 10:30 a.m.

    Saturday, April 15 - Super Mario Bros. Movie

    Saturday, June 3 - Little Mermaid 

    Saturday, June 24 - Elemental 

The showtimes are based around the popular T-Rex theater’s availability and when popular family films were coming into circulation.

“We also tried not to do it on the opening weekend of any film because there's a lot of traffic normally for those films,” Reynolds said.

With copious amounts of people comes all the noise and stimulation they create, which can make a space overwhelming and at times unwelcoming for neurodivergents.

Tickets for the films are at a reduced rate of $7.50 per person to make the experience more family-friendly. Tickets can be purchased here or in person at the theater's box office.

“We will be turning the sound down, keeping the lights up, and letting you move and talk as you please in the theater,” the website states.

Essex Cinemas is also looking to bring back its open caption showings. There are no solid dates for these screenings yet but the theater did hold a special open caption screening of Creed III at the request of some viewers.

For now, Reynolds welcomes viewers to request certain films through the theater’s feedback forms.

Written By

Staff Writer

Kate Vanni | she/her/hers | Reporter | Kate covers Town of Essex and City of Essex Junction municipal meetings, schools and local businesses through written and visual storytelling. Reach her at (802)-448-0253


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for taking part in our commenting section. We want this platform to be a safe and inclusive community where you can freely share ideas and opinions. Comments that are racist, hateful, sexist or attack others won’t be allowed. Just keep it clean. Do these things or you could be banned:

• Don’t name-call and attack other commenters. If you’d be in hot water for saying it in public, then don’t say it here.

• Don’t spam us.

• Don’t attack our journalists.

Let’s make this a platform that is educational, enjoyable and insightful.

Email questions to

Share your opinion


Join the conversation

Recommended for you