Sept. 7, 2019

The backpacks will be available in KC first at the following locations, then will launch nationwide at a later date: Liberty, Northland, Overland Park, Shawnee, Twin Drive-In, Lee’s Summit 16 and New Longview, and Grain Valley.

B&B Theatres is a nationwide family-owned theater group. Following a recent company-wide meeting, the company 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 wants to be the industry leader that is starting a trend of true inclusion for their customers. They have partnered with Variety Childrens Charity for many years and understand the importance of reaching the entire population of humanity that will enjoy the magic of the movies.

Because B&B is family-owned, they are sensitive to the communities and families they serve. The organization held meetings 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 KC for ideas.

This initiative will be launched in the Kansas City area, Liberty, Northland, Overland Park, Shawnee, Twin Drive-In, Lee’s Summit 16 and New Longview, and Grain Valley. Then expand to the other markets that B&B Theatres serves.

It starts with staff training and an emphasis on inclusion. Knowledge will empower B&B Team Members to compassionately handle a potential disrupting event.

Variety KC is providing backpacks with sensory aids that can be checked out at the box office for free while at the movies. These backpacks include weighted blankets and noise canceling headsets, among other items.

“One out of every four families has a member with some sort of disability,” explains Deborah Wiebrecht, the 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!”

B&B Theatres will promote this initiative in an attempt to be a trendsetter and lead the industry with inclusive efforts. This promotion will also create an awareness for all their patrons, who in turn may be more understanding.

“The movie-going experience should be one of joy, magic, and entertainment and we want to do all that we reasonably can to permit our guests to enjoy the magic of the movies in an atmosphere of comfort and security. These sensory kits will go a long way toward making that ambition a reality for many of our families and guests,” says Paul Farnsworth, Director of Public Relations for B&B Theatres.