London’s getting a brand new cinema... on the Thames

In London, you can watch a movie in all sorts of unusual places: from the eaves of old power stations to rooftops with views, to museums and even one-time poorhouses. You can’t, however, legally settle down to watch a film in the hold of a cargo ship. Well, not until now. 

Thanks to the people behind non-profit arts initiative Theatreship, the capital’s movie lovers will shortly be able to settle down to a classic motion picture inside a small (okay, 300-tonne) piece of local maritime history: a 1913 vessel moored in Canary Wharf. 

Opening on January 24, Theatreship’s answer to a smashed bottle of champagne is a venue-christening screening of Powell and Pressburger’s 1948 classic ‘The Red Shoes’. It’s one of a number of P&P films showing at the venue to tie in with the BFI’s current season on the filmmaking double-act.

The boat’s screen itself is a cosy 100-seater, with the adjacent bar run by indie session-heads 3AM Brewery. As befits this mixed arts enterprise, Theatreship is theming the events to the films being screened – so expect live dance at ‘The Red Shoes’ and a performance by Goan-Indian concert pianist Karl Lutchmayer after ‘Black Narcissus’. 

Theatreship is part of the Canal and River Trust’s initiative to bring arts and heritage to the East End docks via historic ships and public arts spaces. Look out, too, for dance, opera, and music, short films, and talks by artists and filmmakers.

‘We’re so incredibly excited to be opening this beautiful ship up to the public,’ says project director Inigo Lapwood. ‘It’s a unique space in a really special part of London.’

Head here for the full screening programme.

10 reasons why you need to see a Powell and Pressburger movie (on the big screen).

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