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U3A Film Club Meeting, Norwich

The University of the 3rd Age (U3A) is an international organisation that operates with a self-help structure engaging retired people in different interests and pursuits. The Norwich U3A Film Club is based at Cinema City and holds monthly meetings at which films in the current Cinema City programme are discussed. Approximately twenty members attend each session, which are facilitated by a volunteer that manages the group. Two films from the programme are reviewed and then a further two for the next month are voted on. The members pay a small fee of £2 each per session and this covers the modest cost of the room hire and coffee/tea during their break. The discussions are usually informal and lively, with lots of laughter.

Cinema Plus staff liaise with the U3A Film Club's organiser to book a room, provide details of the upcoming programme and provide refreshments. Cinema Plus also offers talks and special guests for the group from time to time. The advantages are that the costs are minimal, the club is easy to run (though it is reliant on committed volunteers and members), and it ensures regular use of cinema and café bar by members and their guests.In terms of film choices, the club definitely means that the members are prepared to challenge themselves and so broadens taste.

"We get to see something we'd never dream of seeing and sometimes it's much better than you expect" (U3A member, feedback at session, January 2015)

To give a sense of the broad tastes of the group, here are the top ten films for 2013-14 as voted for by the members:

  1. Calvary
  2. Philomena
  3. 12 Years a Slave
  4. Saving Mr Banks
  5. Captain Phillips
  6. Inside Llewyn Davis
  7. The Book Thief
  8. August: Osage County
  9. A Thousand Times Goodnight
  10. The Grand Budapest Hotel

All of the group hold Picturehouse memberships and tell us they are loyal to Cinema City and would always prefer to visit our cinema rather than go to a local multiplex (Norwich is well served by commercial cinemas – the Odeon, Vue and Hollywood cinemas are well established within the city).

Tip: U3A Film Club members almost always attend daytime screenings and events. They also stay for lunch after each meeting, regularly use the bar and restaurant at other times as well as organising an annual summer barbeque at the cinema. You may want to consider increasing your daytime programming and engagement events to accommodate more retired customers who prefer not to venture out after dark