Cinema Refreshments FAQs

What’s happening?

From 17 February 2017, we are relaxing our policy of allowing food and drink to be consumed in our cinema for a trial period of 3 months until the end of May.

Why is it happening?

We want everyone to have a pleasant trip to the cinema, and we realise that for many, enjoying snacks and drinks while they watch a film is part of the experience. Some find the existing rules intimidating and off-putting, and we know that many of you already sneak in contraband, which can be noisy and disruptive to other customers. We already allow drinks to be taken into the theatre, so to simplify the rules, we are extending them to the cinema as well.

mac is a charity, and with our funding reducing we need to diversify our income sources. We subsidise all of our artistic work with income from our café, bar, room hires and shop. This change will help us to continue to offer a broad range of artistic activities at affordable prices. But because art, in this case film, is always our priority, we want to control the products being consumed to ensure disruption to other customers is kept to a minimum.

How have you come to this decision?

We regularly survey our audiences to ensure we’re reflecting the needs and views of our customers. We ran a consultation period from November to January, inviting customers to vote on the decision in person, via an online survey, and through social media. You voted in your thousands, with 53.4% of the votes agreeing that we should review our policy.

What about the people who voted against a change?

We received many very passionate comments on both sides of the argument. You can read them all by downloading the document at the bottom of this page. We want to reassure you that we have taken them all on board and will be doing our best to mitigate some of your concerns.

How will you ensure customer concerns are avoided?

To ensure that the cinema remains relatively quiet and that disruption is kept to a minimum, we’re limiting the menu of food that we will allow to be taken in. This means we will not be allowing customers to bring their own food or food from other shops, and we won’t be serving any hot, smelly food and no noisy sweets in wrappers!

What will be on offer?

We will be crafting a special menu of quiet nibbles and treats, and our full range of hot, cold, soft and alcoholic drinks will be on offer. We are also keen to keep our environmental impact to a minimum, and so reusable or recyclable containers will be used wherever possible.

What if I have further comments?

If you have further comments regarding the policy during the trial period, you can send these to At the end of the 3 month trial period we will be reviewing the success of the policy change, and whether any alterations need to me made to ensure the continued enjoyment of the majority of our audiences.