To the big tops now up on Armoury Way
Construction of the new site is nearing completion
Wandsworth’s immersive movie venture, Backyard Cinema, is to move to a new site just 100 metres away from its current home. The cinema has been housed at the former Capital Studios, on the corner of Wandsworth Plain and Armory Way, since 2019.
Phase 2 of the Ram Quarter development, which is expected to begin later this year, has required that the Backyard Cinema vacates its current site.
Planning has now been approved for new temporary structures – including marquees, an enclosed bar, shipping containers and temporary entrances – on the Downing site across the road on Armoury Way.
Plans also includes permission to serve food and drinks, and the Backyard Cinema can use the temporary site until the end of summer 2023.
The prime central Wandsworth plot at 2 Armoury Way was acquired by the property construction and management group Downing two years ago, following the decommissioning of the gasholder that originally stood on the land. Downing is known particularly as a student accommodation provider for universities across the UK, but has yet to announce full plans for the land.
The Backyard Cinema literally started out in the backyard of its founder, Dominic Davies, who ran screenings for his mates with food and beer included. Following some investment, Backyard ran its first cinema pop-up in Camden Market just over a decade ago. Dominic joined forces with Backyard’s Events manager James Milligan during the Camden days when the project took off.
As they fine-tuned their immersive cinema experience, Dominic and James found their first permanent site at Wandsworth’s former Capital Studios site, which became home to Backyard’s two themed movie theatres, the Studio Bar, The Annex and The Yard, complete with cocktails, themed pizzas and Argentinian steak sandwiches. As well as the two movie screens and iconic beanbag seating, the current site has also been available for private hire for birthdays, office outings and corporate events.
Other pop-up sites across London include Islington’s Union Chapel, as well a Christmas Labyrinth on Clapham Common and screenings in cobbled Camden courtyards.
Backyard specialises in creating sets inspired by the movies it screens. This summer’s highlights includes Baz Luhrmann’s acclaimed 1996 Romeo+Juliet, at the Union Chapel in Islington, which is being screened under beautiful stained-glass windows, among candle-lit aisles with the Some Voices choir singing live versions from the movie’s soundtrack before and after the film.
Backyard Cinema plans to make its move to 2 Armoury Way this autumn.
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September 6, 2022