Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the questions we are asked most often. 


How do I purchase cinema tickets?

You can buy tickets in person at our reception desk, over the telephone using a credit or debit card or book online. Once payment has been made in person you will be given your ticket(s). If you book over the telephone or online you will be sent an email confirming your booking – this is your cinema ticket(s) and you must bring this with you to the cinema.

For all options, please have your ticket(s) ready to show to the staff member on the door when you attend the screening.


If I have purchased tickets but can no longer make the show, what are my options?

Tickets are non-refundable once purchased. If you contact us before the screening takes place your tickets may be exchanged for tickets to another suitable screening – this is subject to availability and at the discretion of the Pickaquoy Centre management.

Click here to read the full Phoenix Cinema Terms and Conditions and here to read The Pickaquoy Centre’s Terms & Conditions Of Use.


What age is a child ticket for, and who is eligible for concession prices?

Child ticket prices apply to 15-year-olds and under. We don’t charge for babies in arms (under 2 years old). Concession prices apply to anyone who is in full time education, over 60 years old, or anyone in receipt of benefit payments, including 'means tested' benefits, a war disability pension, disabled living allowance, personal independence payment, attendance allowance or carer’s allowances.

Please ensure you ask for the type of ticket you require, or choose the correct option online, before you confirm and pay for your cinema tickets. 


What provisions do you make for accessibility in your cinema?

We have three wheelchair bays, a disabled toilet in the foyer, an induction loop, an infrared system providing audio description on compatible films, and we accept the CEA card (giving a free ticket for customers who need a carer to accompany them). We also run accessible film screenings, including Relaxed and HOH Subtitled shows, as part of our regular programme. Click this link to find out more about Accessibility and Screening Types.


What does a film’s age rating mean?

Like all cinemas in the UK, the Phoenix follows the guidelines and age classifications set by the British Board of Film Classification.

This is a legal requirement of our licence and must be strictly followed. This means we cannot allow babies in arms or teenagers who are ‘nearly old enough’ into 15 or 18 films, even with parental permission. For 12A films, children under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult for the entire film. Photo ID can be requested by staff as proof of age either when tickets are purchased or when you attend the film, so please always bring this with you to the cinema to avoid the disappointment of being turned away. For more information see Film Classifications.


How do I know if a film is suitable for me and/or my family?

The BBFC publishes information on every film classified in the UK, which offers a summary of why a film was rated at any given category. We recommend reading this, and that you view online information including the film’s synopsis and watch a trailer to get a feel of it is right for you, before purchasing tickets. You can search for films and their Ratings info on the BBFC website. The BBFC have also produced a Parents' Guide to Classification.

Responsibility for assessing a film's suitability for a child always remains with the parent or guardian, as long as the legal age ratings given to any film or event are followed. Children under the age of eight years are not permitted in the Pickaquoy Centre, including the cinema, unless accompanied by, or under the supervision of, a responsible adult as per the Centre’s Admissions Policy.


Do you have any membership offers, or discounts for families?

Phoenix Infinity is our cinema membership, which costs £19.99 per month and includes unlimited 2D and 3D film screenings, 20% off event cinema screenings and 10% off purchases in the cinema kiosk. Go to Memberships for more information.

We also run monthly Phoenix Kids screenings, which are family-friendly films with all tickets only £3.10. The low cost makes these a great way to introduce little ones to the cinema for the first time, or just see a good film for less money – maybe more than once!


Do you offer any discounts to ActiveLife members?

Anyone with a family, individual or budget ActiveLife membership will receive a 20% discount on admission to the cinema for those included in the membership. This is available on most standard priced ticket types, including event cinema and 3D, but is not available on some live events taking place in the cinema and does not apply to any 'special offer' tickets that are already at a lower price (e.g. Phoenix Kids).

For more information on ActiveLife, or to sign up, visit the ActiveLife memberships page.


Is there a loyalty scheme?

Yes, our Cinema Loyalty Cards give you one free cinema ticket after nine tickets are purchased. The free ticket cannot be used for any event cinema screenings and only applies to regular 2D & 3D film shows; however, you may collect loyalty stamps when purchasing tickets for event cinema screenings. We are unable to provide a loyalty card for event cinema screenings due to restrictions set by the providers. Loyalty Card stamps cannot be collected on tickets booked using a Phoenix Infinity membership. 


How long before the film do the cinema doors open?

The doors will usually open 15 minutes before a feature film’s advertised start time and 15-30 minutes before an event cinema screening’s advertised start time. For very busy shows, the doors will usually open 5-15 minutes earlier than these times.


What time does the film actually start?

Most of our film screenings will have adverts and trailers playing before the feature - these will usually be playing when we open the doors, and for up to 15 minutes after the advertised time of the show. Most event cinema screenings will start at, or close to, their advertised time.

Please be aware that adverts and trailer times are variable, and some shows will have nothing playing before the feature so will start promptly (e.g. Relaxed Screenings, some live events and special screenings). To make sure you do not miss the start of a film or event, we would recommend that you always arrive at the cinema before the screening's advertised time.


What food and beverage options are available?

The cinema kiosk is open before the film and has a wide range of sweets, crisps, chocolate and ice cream on sale. Hot drinks, cold soft drinks and a selection of beers, ciders and wine are also available.

Also on site is The Picky Café, which offers a range of refreshments and food options. 


Can I sit anywhere in the cinema?

Our tickets have seat numbers on them, which allows groups to be able to book seats together and customers to book seats in their preferred area of the cinema ahead of the screening. If a show is busy, we do ask that people sit in their designated seats; the member of staff at the door of the cinema can help guide you to these when they check your tickets. 

However, if a screening isn’t full and there are empty seats available there will be flexibility to allow you to sit anywhere that’s free. Please ask the staff member at the door of the cinema if this is possible when you arrive.

Click here to see the Cinema Seating Plan.


When is the film schedule published, and when can I book tickets?

We usually programme our cinema schedule 1-2 weeks ahead, and all confirmed films will be listed on our website once they are available for booking. We recommend that you sign up to our weekly mailing list to keep up to date with what's coming to the cinema, or click here to see What's On.

You can buy tickets as soon as our films and events are advertised, unless otherwise stated. 


Why don’t you show films on their release dates very often?

Film distributors’ terms for showing films in cinemas can be very strict. For example, to show a blockbuster film on its release date we would usually have to sign an exclusive contract to show it at least twice a day for a minimum of 2 weeks, and often we would not be allowed to show any other films, or be restricted with what else we can show, during that time. The further away from release date you screen a film, the more flexible these terms become.

Because we only have one screen at The Phoenix, we usually show films 3-6 weeks after their release date, because this is when the distributors allow us to book films for fewer days and screenings (the exact terms and when we can screen a film is arranged on a film by film basis). We also have to take into account how many different films and events we want to show, and make sure these will work around each other. This allows us to show as many films as possible and put on a wide range of screenings that will appeal to different people throughout the month.

We do occasionally show films on their release date (and it's quite exciting when we do!), but can usually only consider this for films which will appeal to a wide audience of all ages, which are likely to be popular enough to justify the number of screenings we would need to put on. This has previously included film franchises such as James Bond, Star Wars, The Hobbit, Lord Of The Rings and the Harry Potter films.


Who decides what films you show and at what times?

When planning our programme each month, our cinema team look at the films coming out and take into consideration which films are getting good reviews and the kinds of films that have been popular here in the past. We try to include a good mix of genres and films for all ages, so that we have a schedule that will appeal to as much of our community as possible. We also take into consideration any suggestions we’ve had from the public, so if there is a film coming out that you are excited about please get in touch and tell us!

Our show times and number of screenings are based on anticipated demand, and when we think the audience for that film will be most likely to come and see it (e.g. family films are most popular at weekends and during school holidays). Where possible we will have both daytime and evening shows available for all our films, and include accessible screenings and show times that fit in with isles boat times when we can. Every screening has to fit in with the other films and events showing that month, so a film’s running time and any set start times for event cinema screenings, etc. have to be taken into account. We also have to follow any restrictions placed on us by distributors, and make sure we leave enough time between screenings for cleaning and setting up for the next show.  

It is a bit of a jigsaw each month to get the right balance, but if a film proves more popular than anticipated we will always try to schedule extra screenings. Customer feedback is important when deciding what to bring back, so please tell us if you would like to see a film or event again.


Why are some films never shown in your cinema?

Unfortunately, with only one screen it is not possible to show every film that is released in cinemas. On average, at least 15 films per week are released into cinemas in the UK. The Phoenix shows an average of 15 films per month (plus our live theatre, opera and ballet event screenings), so there are always going to be some we cannot fit in. 


Can I hire the cinema out for a private screening or event?

Yes, we can arrange private screenings of films for groups, and also hire out the cinema for conferences and other events. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of these options.