Strand Arts Centre’s weekly Silver Screenings supported by Specsavers are a chance for cinemagoers to take a trip down movie memory lane by enjoying a classic film. 

The East Belfast venue first teamed up with opticians and audiologists Specsavers Connswater three years ago to deliver this inspiring project for older people in the local community. The initiative is also supported by Arts & Business NI.

Strand on the road

Residents of care homes and supported housing are frequent visitors to the Silver Screenings. During lockdown with the arts centre closed and care homes in lockdown, the Strand went on the road delivering DVDs and always popular popcorn to those feeling isolated and in need of some movie magic.

Classic films like Singin’ in the Rain

Strand Arts Centre CEO Mimi Turtle said: ‘We wanted to keep engaging with our older audiences during a difficult time. Our team delivered Silver Screenings rescue packs with a choice of classic films such as Singin’ in the RainCalamity Jane and The Sound of Music. We also included fun facts and trivia about the years in which the films were released and some movie quizzes. We provided a bonus DVD with Stephen Beggs reciting poetry, and musicians Rab Wishart and Hannah McPhillimy performing sing-along songs. And no rescue pack is complete without some chocolates and other sweet treats!’

A chance to reminisce

Lynsey Caldwell, Director of Specsavers Connswater said: ‘Silver Screenings is one of our favourite projects that we support within the community. 22 local groups who visit the Strand regularly have made a combined total of 323 visits in the last three years. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to meet up for a tea or coffee and a chance to reminisce about previous trips to the cinema in their youth, followed by a screening of a classic film. Carers from some of the nursing home have reported that it is the highlight of the week for many of their residents.’

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