If you walk around my neighbourhood in London’s East End, here in Hackney, you may, at first, be put off by our terrible problem with dog poo littering the sidewalks, or focus on some the the run down buildings that could do with bit of a paint job. To me though, from the moment I saw this place I saw its beauty and potential. Here, in the postal code of E9, is a gem of an area that as New Yorkers like me like to say is “keeping it real”.
This place here in London, attracted me because it reminded me of my home city’s area of Brooklyn, the way that bourough of New York City was about 20 years ago. Filled with creative spaces, including warehouses and industrial spaces that artists convert into beautiful studios, and an increasing number of cafes, restaurants and pubs that have been springing up in my six years in this part of the the city.
While there are consequences of gentrification (I am sad to be losing friends in the area now, who are being forced to leave
because of increased rent prices and unaffordable housing) there are also community benefits and tonight I discovered a gem of a project that is crowdfunding for support. Please join me in pledging money to support the Kickstarter campaign to Revive The Castle Cinema of Chatsworth Road. This evening, I got to see the space, that is located behind the E17 Restaurant, above the Spar in an old building that was, as I learned tonight, once a snooker hall and once a Bingo palace, but, once, was a beautiful small cinema opened in 1913. Walking in, with entry through the E17 restaturant that includes an Art Deco bar, you are transported to an era of glamour, pre-TV, pre-internet and pre-NetFlix, when the community’s entertainment was a night out at the cinema. Inside the theatre, you’ll find ornate plaster work and a small and inviting space.
Area residents, and those from elsewhere, were treated to a documentary screening of a film about the history of cinema in the East End, and invitation to check out the space being proposed for revival. About 50 people braved the unpleasant weather to attend. Hopefully, like me, they will be convinced to back the project. As the cinema needs about £2,000 by Wednesday to make this happen. The folks behind this project have also orchestrated creative events like Hot Tub Cinema and the Pillow Cinema.
Not only will they provide evening film showings of independent and art-house genre films, they are also planning to do mother and baby events and other children and family events for the area. As a mom here, I welcome the entertainment this could provide for my young son.
You can go to a screening tomorrow night as well, for free, just pop on to this website to sign up for your ticket.