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ON THE DEMISE OF THE SENIORS SHOW.  Mrs T tells it how it is There were lots of dismayed senior Wooltonians in 2015 after Woolton Picture house axed their weekly Thursday morning seniors film show. The show providing an invaluable service to the older members of the local community, some having regularly visited the cinema since childhood. Seniors who attended the show said “It was a lot more than just a film show it also gave us oldies the chance to see familiar faces and get out of the house to visit the pictures during daylight hours in winter months,we  also found it to be a pleasant more relaxed environment without the hustle and bustle of the weekend matinees”. No doubt the overriding reason the plug was pulled on the show would have been for financial reasons. Pensioners who did attend the show over the years say they can’t help but think if it had been organised and promoted better so that everyone new what film was on week after week and the shows were not subject to being cancelled at the last minute in preference to school parties and other special presentations then it might have been better attended, not all seniors have access to computers so there also needed a bit more imagination to advertise the film showing each week and a bit more of a warm welcome when we visited the cinema wouldn’t have gone amiss either. The seniors have certainly hit on some good points with this as it wasn’t all that long ago when the nearby former Allerton Odeon ran a similar senior show and the queue to get into the Allerton was often seen to be longer than the pensioners queue waiting to get into one of Herbert the hairdressers Christmas lunches. Our source at the picture house informs  “The staff in charge of running the show were never all that keen to come in early in the morning to open up the cinema and operate the seniors film show, A morning show was always looked upon as more of an inconvenience to those more accustomed to working later in the day, so they were quite nonchalant about it when the decision was taken to end the show”. If that’s the case then the cinema owners really ought to be more positive and assertive to try to make it work and less influenced and defeatist to the desires of those who don’t have the motivation .The senior show attendances might not have always set the cash tills ringing but the show served its purpose and was a way of endearing the cinema to the local community, with a little tweaking and tinkering the show could still have been a viable proposition. It may be worthwhile to both cinema owners and patrons alike if instead of the tired under performing early morning senior show Woolton Picturehouse considered taking a fresh approach by having an afternoon ‘Midweek matinee’, instead of labelling it as a show for “Seniors” the doors would instead be open to the general public but with senior citizens in mind. Many of the old style suburban cinemas around the Liverpool area used this type of approach to some success by having a matinee on a Wednesday afternoon at 2.00pm, showing the same programme as the evening show with daytime price concessions across the board and additional price concessions for pensioners, unemployed and student/nurses. During the school holidays the show would revert back to its familiar roll as being part of the weekly family orientated matinee. If the event was organised properly it would not only provide a more stable and reliable service for the pensioners it would also pull in additional customers unable to visit the cinema during the evening time. When the Speke Cineworld (due open in 2017) arrives on the scene the Picture house might be grateful for all the customers they can get including their recently brushed aside senior ones. Axing the senior show without replacing it with a suitable alternative will be viewed by many patrons as uncaring and may well just turn out to be another case of the cinema shooting itself in the foot. The key to a show such as this being a success is it needs to be run by enthusiastic staff or volunteers with the drive and initiative to want it to work. So come on Woolton Picture house get your thinking caps on and come up with a better service to satisfy every age group.                            As the old saying goes “If you look after the peny’s [the pensioners] the pounds will take care of themselves”. Support the senior cinemagoers campaign,  feedback to:   contact@wooltoncinema.info
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