Since 2015, The Village Screen has been screening modern classic films in incredible locations all across Sheffield, Manchester and the Peak District. We spoke to organiser and co-owner Claire Hunt to find out about the pop-up cinema's exciting plans for the summer, and why watching a film outdoors is a cinema experience like no other.
Tell us more about why you set up the Village Screen.
Strangely, I actually qualified as a lawyer. I was working in law until about 2012 and I loved attending pop-up cinema events in London at the time such a Rooftop Cinema and Secret Cinema. When I moved back home to the north I wanted to focus on creating beautiful events, and I thought it would be great to bring a similar cinema experience to the people of Sheffield. The first Village Screen event was at the Q Park on Castlegate – totally transforming their rooftop into a cinema. We screened The Full Monty, Back to the Future and Dirty Dancing across a series of lovely summer nights, and the public responded really enthusiastically!
How do you choose which films to show?
I love fun 80s and 90s classics, and that’s a lot of what we show. The idea behind the Village Screen is to showcase films that people already know and love, but in unusual places. If we have a really interesting venue we’ll sometimes theme the films selection to match the location – our first Manchester event was a screening of Jaws at an old Victorian swimming baths. We’re always looking for new and exciting or underused venues to showcase great cinema, so the possibilities are endless.
What can people expect from a Village Screen event?
More than anything, we want to give you a fun experience. People come along with their friends and family to our totally transformed locations, have some drinks, eat some great street food and have a fun, relaxed and friendly night.
What have been most proud of so far?
Last year we screened Romeo + Juliet at Park Hill. We had a massive 24-foot screen, put out 500 deck chairs – all to tie in with the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. It was a challenge to turn such an iconic Sheffield building into an outdoor cinema but when everyone was there, having a great time, it was one of those lovely moments that made all the hard work worthwhile.
What is your favourite thing about Sheffield?
I called my events company The Village Green Events Co because Sheffield is a big village at heart. I am always bumping into people I know and Sheffield has a lovely, warm, friendly atmosphere. I think this is also why people support local independent business. So, I would say I love the village atmosphere and the independent businesses. In particular I love going to Homemade at Thelma's at the weekend, I love the Broadfield pub quiz and pies, and I love Urban Choola and Koko on Ecclesall Road.
The Village Screen features in a short film we made with Sheffield Hallam Uni, alongside a bunch of the city's other top cultural attractions – watch below.
- Words by
- Jacqueline Chell