17 Jun 20
I'd waited for twenty years to see the opening of a West End Picturehouse Cinema, so you can imagine the opening morning was a mixture of excitement and worry. We were all helping to get the cinema ready, all hands on deck. There were still the small practical things left to do. So we put out the new rubbish bins, swept the floors, stocked up the toilet rolls and generally made sure we could get all the details right and the cinema looking as good as it could for opening.
I had a huge knot of anxiety that the cinema might not work. My fear was that the building was tucked away and nearly unrecognisable from the cinema's last incarnation, The Trocadero. It was a much-loved, but well-worn building and a very different offering than what we wanted to accomplish. Our architects and the Design team at Picturehouse had completely renovated the space.
As surprising as it sounds now, it was slow business at the start. It took some time for people to find us. But eventually, boom! It suddenly became the place to see films. My anxiety swiftly fell away as people discovered Central and they came in droves. It was what I'd always wanted, the new spot for people who enjoyed something special.
The cinema is now so buzzy and full of life. I still get a thrill every time I walk in. That feeling has not changed since we opened five years ago today.
Since then, Central has established itself as our flagship site representing everything Picturehouse does and the value of programming great cinema. We've shown the best in film from around the world. From brilliant blockbusters and arthouse gems, to outstanding and award-winning low budget indies. If it's a good movie, we do our best to show it. We've also partnered up with world-class international film festivals and events to bring more attention to great movies.
We want Central to be everyone's go-to hang out spot, complete with the best coffee, food and drinks on offer. But at its heart, Central is the foremost example of our ideal at Picturehouse of 'Cathedrals of Cinema'.
We cannot wait to get Central back up and running again. We will continue to play great films on 35mm, 70mm and digital on our state of the art screens, working with filmmakers and audiences to be the hub of all good things going forward.
Long live Picturehouse Central and LONG LIVE CINEMA!
Picturehouse is spreading its wings, with plans to screen outdoors at new pop-up sites in Edinburgh, York and Chester, as well as returning to ones in Bath, Henley, Norwich and Southampton.
Book to see Gauguin From The National Gallery and enter our competition to be in with a chance of winning a nights stay + tickets to the Gauguin exhibition at the National Gallery.
James McAvoy on NT Live's broadcast of Cyrano de Bergerac.
Ella Kemp finds out that the only way to tell his story is to live his fantasy. This is a film that takes stock of John's life and launches its own toe-tapping fairytale into the stratosphere.
Emily Anderton from Harbour Lights, Southampton shares her thoughts on Wings of Desire, playing on Wednesday 13 November.